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Matt Carpenter, Back In Lead-Off, Kick Starts Cardinals 8-1 Win Over Mets

Matt Carpenter slugs out a solo shot back as lead-off in the first facing Mets Jacob deGrom.
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

In some cases, a player's numbers are very reliable. In the case of St. Louis Cardinals Matt Carpenter, being lead-off hitter is his. He owns the power for the Cardinals at the top of the line-up versus hitting third. Matt Holliday, Cardinals every day third slot hitter, was placed on the DL August 11 due to sustaining a HBP fractured thumb. Carpenter was moved to take over for Holliday since August 12. He had played nine games batting third, 8-33/1-2B with eight walks and six runs for a .242 BA/.273 SLG. As lead-off, he holds a .292 BA/15 HR/56 RBI holding a .571 SLG. In my opinion, Carpenter 'is' the Cardinals lead-off specialist. 

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tops the MLB with 121 different line-ups, and feels that Carpenter would develop the same power in third as he as being lead-off. He contends Carpenter does nothing different in one position compared to another. However, I feel "mindset" has a great deal to do with a batter, especially for Carpenter. If this were the beginning of the season and Matheny wanted to experiment to develop Carpenter, I would have no problem in his logic. But, not late in the season, taking your proven power out of the lead-off role. Cardinals have other power bats that can handle the three spot well. As was proven in last night's game.   

Carpenter was returned to the top of the line-up in last night's game facing New York Mets Jacob deGrom. As lead-off Carpenter does so well, he took deGrom to a full count in the first. He takes the next pitch and sends the two-seamer sailing out into the Cardinals bullpen for a solo shot for his 16 home run and 57 RBI this season. Now, for Matheny to leave him in his 'power position'. His homer was his 12 career lead-off home run ending a very dry RBI hitting spell for Carpenter. 

Carlos Martinez had an excellent stand against the Mets. He went eight innings, only gave up one earned run to Asdrubal Cabrera for a RBI double. He issued three walks and had five strikeouts. He allowed four hits, the only hits the Mets would see. And, he was 2-4 at the plate. Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh spent 12 pitches/10 strikes thrown to take out the side in the final 8-1 win to split the series. 

Carpenter began the scoring in the first for the Cardinals and five more Cardinals began adding to his solo facing deGrom (2.73 ERA). deGrom came into Busch Stadium, 2-4/3.75 ERA on the road. His previous start against the San Francisco Giants he went 5 IP/1 HR/8 ER. Last night the Cardinals did not hold back in his short stand of 4.2 IP. In the third, two outs on the board, two runners on, Stephen Piscotty out ran the throw to first for a RBI single to take a 2-1 lead. In the fourth, Randal Grichuk who had doubled in the second, cranks out an opposite field solo home run over the right wall. 

Once again, it was Piscotty in the fifth to face deGrom. One out, one runner on, he sends a missile out left for his 19 home run for a two-run homer for his 3 RBI in the game. Martinez had a padded 5-1 lead before he returned in the sixth. 

deGrom allowed another single and issued a walk before he was replaced by Eric Goeddel. He had allowed 12 of Cardinals 19 hits by his fifth, 3 HR/5 ER/2-BB only struck out three in his seventh loss this season. Goeddel closed the fifth and took out the side in his sixth. In the seventh, the Cardinals came back on his watch as Jhonny Peralta slugged out a RBI triple. With one out, one runner on, Hansel Robles was called from the pen. Robles got the second out. Greg Garcia came to plate connecting for a RBI single. In his eighth, one out, two runners on, Yadier Molina who had smashed a double to the wall in the second, connected for a RBI single to give the Cardinals their final 8-1 score and Martinez his 12 win. Both Piscotty and Molina were 3-5 AB in last night's game; along with multi-hits from Peralta (2-5), Grichuk (2-3), G Garcia (2-2), Martinez (2-4). Carpenter was the only single hitter for the Cardinals; but, a great single it was. He is back where he belongs - as lead-off. 

RUBBER MATCH ~ 6:15 CST

Cardinals Adam Wainwright (9-7/4.71 ERA) will face Mets rookie Seth Lugo (0-2/3.04 ERA). The Cardinals will face yet another new hurler as he makes his debut against St. Louis in his second start of the season. His first was against the Giants, August 19, going 6.2 IP/3 ER/1-BB/3 SO. His first nine games this season he was long relief for the Mets. Wainwright is 5-3/3.06 ERA at home. Struggling in August, Wainwright will look to go deep into the game and keep damages minimal. His last home stand, August 7 against the Atlanta Braves, he went 6 IP/6 ER/3-BB/3 SO. Once again, the Cardinals offense will be counted on to be just as strong tonight as they proved to be in Game Two. 

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