If the St. Louis Cardinals are going to start to score more runs on a consistent basis, Matt Carpenter is going to have to be a part of it.
So it is a tremendous relief to see the Redbirds third sacker finally rediscover his swing after three months of unexplainable struggled at the plate.
Carpenter is hitting .318 with five homers and five doubles over the past two weeks. Thanks to eight walks drawn, he has an on-base percentage of .423 over that span and a 1.196 on-base plus slugging percentage.
After getting off to a great start in April with a .372 average with 13 doubles and three homers, Carpenter fell off a cliff. He hit .269 in May, .190 in June and .224 in July. Between his hot April and his recent hot streak, Carpenter hit only nine doubles in three months.
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Despite missing several games due to “extreme fatigue,” Carpenter has insisted that there was no underlying health issue responsible for his struggles at the plate.
For some reason, it seems that the only explanation for his rediscovered success is that Carpenter just really likes hitting in the lead-off spot. A position to which he was recently restored.
Carpenter bats .357 when batting first in the order - compared to .225 hitting second and .222 hitting seventh.
It’s apparently a mental thing, which is fine. If he is better batting first, let him bat first. But after that first at-bat of the game, in which he bats .333, the order seems to be irrelevant.
But that’s not the case for Carpenter. Although he hits .280 in the first including his time batting second and in other spots in the order, he hits .407 in the fifth inning and .308 in the ninth. If manager Mike Matheny is going to pinch hit for Carpenter, it should probably be in the seventh frame during which he has hit only .178 this season.
The skipper might want to sit Carpenter in games against the Cubs, he bats .133 against them. But he’s pounded the Cincinnati Reds to the tune of a .378 average.