After a Rough Opening Series, The Cardinals Leadoff Man has Turned His Game Up a Notch
The Cardinals had a very tough time in the opening series against Pittsburgh, as we all know by now, and part of that was due to a lack of production offensively. While role players like Jedd Gyorko and Aledmys Diaz had limited success agains the Pirates, the main guys in the Cardinals lineup just could not put the barrel of the bat on the baseball. One of those main sluggers, Matt Carpenter, has recently turned things around.
Once the Cardinals plane took off from Pittsburgh, Carpenter returned to his old form. Since that series, Carpenter is on a four-game hitting streak with six hits, seven RBIs, four runs scored, and two walks while striking out twice. After going 1 for 11 with four strikeouts vs. Pittsburgh, Carpenter went 6 for 16 in the three games vs. Atlanta and the home opener against Milwaukee.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 10, 2016
If the Cardinals are to have success at the plate this season, Carpenter is going to have to be one of the main contributors, if not the main contributor. As the leadoff man, it is his job to get on base and let guys like Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and Jeremy Hazelbaker drive him home. Of course, if he can help himself out once in a while, that certainly would not hurt.
After hitting 28 home runs and driving in 84 RBIs in 2015, Carpenter certainly has set the bar high. Cardinals fans expect a lot of him, and those raised expectations are certainly not unfair. Carpenter has had a stellar career so far and deserves lots of recognition. But, in 2016 the NL Central looks to once again be the best division in baseball. If the Cardinals are to compete in this tough division and surpass the favored Chicago Cubs, Carpenter will definitely need to lead the charge.
While we love the breakout starts from Hazelbaker and Diaz, we know that eventually they will come down to earth. When that sad day finally arrives, it will be important for veterans on the team like Carpenter to take control and lead the Cardinals in a winning direction.