The St. Louis Cardinals usually know what they are going to get from players like their catcher Yadier Molina, their ace pitcher Adam Wainwright, and outfielders Matt Holiday and Carlos Beltran.
Second base hasn’t been a position that the Cardinals have gotten much offense from in the recent past, but this year has been much different. Matt Carpenter is leading the Cardinals’ offense in batting average (.323), runs scored (119), walks (63) and is two doubles shy of Stan Musial‘s team record of 53.
Carpenter has been the most consistent player on the Cardinals all season. Molina has been solid as well, but he was forced to miss some time due to a knee injury. David Freese has had rough patches throughout the season. Beltran and Holiday have been steady, but none of them have produced at the plate like Carpenter has.
The Cardinals’ second base position has usually been manned by a more defensive-minded player, but Carpenter doesn’t lack much in that category either. Sure-handed players like Skip Schumaker, Adam Kennedy and Daniel Descalso are the type they prefer to occupy second, so Carpenter’s offensive production from the position is an added bonus.
Over the past week, Carpenter has amassed 13 hits, six runs and a 1.103 OPS. He’s not slowing down, and the Cardinals are going to need him to continue to pace the offense if they hope to hold off the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Central.
The Cardinals hold a one-game lead in the division and are in the middle of a seven-game road trip to visit the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers before finishing the season with six games at home against the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs. They’re in a favorable position to hold off their chasers, and Carpenter’s ability to get on base and pester opposing pitchers is a big reason why.