There is a lot to complain about in the St. Louis Cardinals fortunate Thursday night win over the Colorado Rockies: bad throws, fielding errors, poor baserunning...
But, besides the obvious highlight that the Redbirds were able to win, the other big positive to take away from the game was the surprise return of the bat of Matt Carpenter.
The St. Louis third baseman, who hit .190 in June and .213 in July, cracked a pair of home runs and a double to propel the St. Louis offense.
I’m not sure if it was a coincidence or if it was his return to the lead-off spot in the order. But, while one would think it wouldn’t make a difference in which spot a batter hits, Carpenter’s splits show differently.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
He’s a .370 batter this year when hitting first in the order. When he bats second, Carpenter bats .225, when he’s seventh he hits .222 and in a combined three plate appearances batting eighth and ninth he’s hitless.
In short, if Carpenter wants to hit first, let the guy hit first.
Second sacker Kolten Wong got an audition in the leadoff spot for a while, seemingly because his small size and abundant speed stereotyped him for the role. But Wong only hit .249 in the spot. So his performance certainly shouldn’t block Carpenter’s return.
Statistically speaking, Wong has performed best as an eighth-place hitter, batting .364. But he doesn’t seem to mind where he’s placed in the line-up.
When inserted in the third spot Thursday, Wong was 2-for-4. He’s a .273 hitter in the second spot.
If there is something in Carpenter’s mind that makes him feel like he’s a better hitter batting first, let him bat there. It’s better for the team when he hits more like he’s capable, getting on base and scoring runs.
While many of us would like to see the Cardinals add a bat at the trade deadline, it would certainly help the team’s sputtering offense to have Carpenter return to his doubles-smacking, .300-hitting ways.