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Carpenter’s Hot Streak Silences Craig Comparisons

Because #stlcards is the standard Twitter hashtag for news about the St. Louis Cardinals, I follow it. However, I have a love-hate relationship with it, as any nuggets of wisdom seem to be fewer and farther between. Anyone and everyone who has something to say seems to use the hashtag with a lot of it reactionary to say the least.

Most of them don’t seem to bother to read the others, apparently thinking they are the first to come up with clever ideas and comparisons.

One such example started a few weeks ago. There were literally dozens and dozens of tweets comparing Matt Carpenter’s hitting slump to the decline of the team’s former first baseman-outfielder Allen Craig.

Here are but a few samples of those who did not just wonder aloud, but had already made the declaration, even though the two situations were very different.

I could go on, but you surely get the idea. Heck, maybe you were among those who joined in.

Well, something very different came to pass. In the last two weeks, Carpenter has been on fire at the plate.

Since returning to the leadoff spot on July 30, Carpenter is batting .375 (15-for-40) with an National League-best seven home runs, five doubles and 12 runs scored in 10 games. He is also leading the NL in slugging (1.028) and OPS (1.478), and is second in the league with 13 RBI during that time.

As a result, many of the very same people who were trumpeting the third baseman’s demise just days ago are now singing his praises.

Interesting how a hot streak can change minds…

At least one of the critics scores points with me for being accountable for his earlier remarks.

He said it, so I don’t have to.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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27 Responses to “Carpenter’s Hot Streak Silences Craig Comparisons”

  1. blingboy says:

    I do not do twitter, but I would be interested to know the prevailing sentiment during the time of Craig’s futile struggles before the trade. I assume there were loud calls for Mike to stop trotting him out there only to fail game after game.

  2. crdswmn says:

    I pretty much stay away from Twitter most of the time now. I use it for my blog posts, and once in a while I will comment on something baseball related if the spirit moves me. Cardinal baseball twitter is a vast wasteland of stupidity.

  3. blingboy says:

    I wonder whether the batting leadoff thing has to do with getting pitches to hit or if it is all psychological.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Allen Craig Syndrome is probably not Steve Blass disease. Blass was MVP of a World Series, showed up for spring training and had a terrible time throwing strikes again. This was probably psychological. Higher expectations owing to October stressed Blass by spring.

    Craig was a consistent producer, minors and majors, from 2007 until September 2013, when he suffered a foot injury. It seems possible he can no longer push off and attack the ball as before the injury. His eyesight and understanding of the game could be as before, but the foot injury may have robbed power.

    The Red Sox gambled Craig could recover his form. I hope he can as well. The Sox also gambled on Masterson and lost $10MM on him.

  5. blingboy says:

    What are the chances Carp gets fatigued again?

  6. Nutlaw says:

    So Moss is just pretty much the worst. I had thought that Mo learned from the Pedro Feliz debacle a few years back. I guess that his third straight year of heavily declining OPS wasn’t enough of a warning sign?

    Other than for pride, why is Moss playing? Reynolds has equivalent numbers. Heck, Bourjos has an equivalent OPS! Why not let Bourjos man CF, Grichuk LF, and Piscotty 1B? At least that way, the team is strong defensively.

    • crdswmn says:

      I have criticized process many times over at the message board, but the Logical Fallacy Squad always swoops in with their erudite comeback.

      73-40.

      That’s the answer to all process questions.

      • crdswmn says:

        One “That’s”

        I would give my right arm for an edit button.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        I can offer a different 73-40 explanation.

        When you are 73-40, you are in a strong position and you do not want to blow the chance, which is not promised for next year. So you want to add players at the trading deadline. While we do not like surrendering Kaminsky, at least we sent him to the other league rather than Milwaukee. Other hitters would have cost more than Kaminsky.

        Moss as a hitter is a lot like Reynolds. He strikes out a lot, even when hitting well. Right now, he has started his StL period in a slump, so some write him off as fast as they belove Piscotty. Moss has some hits left in his bat and some holes in his swing too. There may be some future days when he contributes.

    • crdswmn says:

      You are getting your wish, at least for today’s game. Don’t expect it to continue though. I imagine it is happening because Bourjos has had small sample size success against Liriano.

      After today, Bourjos will go back to pulling splinters out of his backside and 1B will go back to Reynolds/Moss.

      • Nutlaw says:

        It’ll 100% continue if Moss continues to hit as he has hit all year, with Reynolds getting starts again more often. Moss is a career .767 OPS first baseman on a clear and steady decline with only a .669 OPS this year.

        The Cardinals make plenty of good moves, obviously, and have a great record. That doesn’t mean that they always make good choices. This was not a good move by any account and did not help to build that record. It was a clearly unnecessary overreaction to Holliday getting hurt. Tommy Pham is a much better use of a roster spot.

        • crdswmn says:

          Matheny will NOT start Bourjos in CF on any kind of regular basis. He won’t hit if he sits on the bench for weeks, and Matheny won’t leave him in unless he hits on demand. He took him out tonight for Mark Reynolds because he didn’t hit in 3 ABs after sitting on the bench for three weeks. Matheny has no patience with Bourjos, none. He will play Reynolds and Moss no matter how bad they are until he has someone else he can start besides Bourjos.

          So yeah, Pham will have to be brought up to keep Reynolds and Moss from playing 1B. Whether he will or not before rosters expand remains to be seen.

          • crdswmn says:

            And as a fan of Peter Bourjos, I cannot wait until he is off this team. Trade him for a basket of baseballs, or non-tender him, but he better not be a Cardinal in 2016.

            • crdswmn says:

              Better yet, put him on waivers tomorrow and let some team take him, then bring up Pham.

              I am dead serious. Free up the roster spot and dump the salary. That also frees up a 40 man spot for someone else, like Hazelbaker or anyone else that isn’t on the 40 man that could help the team.

              • Brian Walton says:

                They will all be up in a couple of weeks.

                • crdswmn says:

                  The ones who have a 40 man spot will. An extra 40 man spot I bet would come in handy.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    In my opinion, there are already more September candidates on the 40-man than will realistically see any substantive action. I don’t see anyone not already on the 40-man who would be a difference-maker next month.

                    Between now and the end of the season, no one on the 25-man roster will be released or traded away. There is no need.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Well, then finish the season with 39 guys on the roster. Pham will get called up for sure, and he can take the Bourjos role, and probably play more and be useful.

                      I do not see how Bourjos, who almost never plays, (9 PAs since 7/28) contributes anything of value to this team. He is just taking up space, getting rusty, and lowering his trade value to nil. The Cardinals will be lucky to even get cash for him in the offseason. I suspect they will have to non-tender him like they did Descalso.

                      Even if there is no need, showing a little mercy to Bourjos wouldn’t hurt at all. He isn’t doing anything to help the team but taking up bench space.

                    • blingboy says:

                      As far as I can tell, he hasn’t complained any. The Cards org is very loyal to veteran players. I am sure Peter will be on the 25 man post-season roster. It is too bad he could never get any traction here, but he did not do much with the chances he did get. Now, he is so rusty there isn’t much hope even when he gets in. I wish him well next year.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Well the CF argument is boring and beaten to death. Suffice it to say that Bourjos’ performance with the bat declined in direct proportion to his dwindling playing time, first after Grichuk came off the DL and then Jay came off two weeks later. Despite hitting much worse in the month of June than Bourjos, Jay got the bulk of the playing time. Jay started 16 games in CF and Bourjos started 9. Even with that dwindling playing time, Bourjos was hitting .250 to Jay’s .223 when Jay went back on the DL. Then Pham was called up when Jay went on the DL, and then for the next 14 games Bourjos got 5 starts in CF; Pham got 7 and Grichuk got 2. After Pham was sent down, it has been all Grichuk in CF, Bourjos has had 3 starts there. Bourjos average dropped from .250 to .224 in the month of July, a month in which he started 9 of 27 games.

                      The only extended streak of starts Bourjos has had all year was from May 6 to May 17, when Grichuk came off the DL. That was his “chance” He was hitting .271 on May 17. He was hitting .272 when Jay came off the DL on May 29.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    And if Grichuk is injured tonight, they will be glad to have Bourjos now. Anything else will wait until after the season.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      If Grichuk is injured they will just call up Pham. Jay will be coming off the DL soon. Heck, Matheny would even move Heyward to CF and put Reynolds in LF and Piscotty in RF before he would start Bourjos on any kind of regular basis.

                      Bourjos is not being kept to start in case of emergency. He is being kept because he makes a good pinch runner and late innings defensive replacement. Matheny will not use him in any other way, that is his “role” and Matheny is going to stick to it, come hell or high water.

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