Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Carpenter Is Looking for His Swing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Carpenter Is Looking for His Swing

Article excerpt

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before Saturday's game he thought about sitting third baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter is in the midst of a 10-for-56 freefall with 19 strikeouts.

But Matheny said he decided against it after talking to his two- time All-Star, who had to take four days off earlier in the season because of fatigue.

"I trust these guys when they tell me they feel great, especially coming off an off day (Thursday). He feels real good. He just needs to find his swing," said Matheny.

"Since we had that little bout where he just worked himself right into the ground, he's been honest (with the manager). And we'll have a late show-up, have him back off his indoor work and give him a day off. But this isn't one of those times."

Carpenter, down from .325, still is hitting .290 and his single on Saturday produced a third-inning run although he was out trying to stretch it into a double.

"I don't feel great," he said. "I've felt better. But when you don't feel great, find a way to do something productive."

The strikeout rash admittedly bothers Carpenter, but he said he had no answer for it. "If I knew, I would stop," he said.

"I think we've been spoiled around here," Matheny said. "It's happened very few times in what is his still-young career where we've seen him kind of fighting. But I told him in Colorado, 'It must be nice when you're really fighting and you throw two hits up.'

"I think what's frustrating him more than anything is the fact that he's striking out, which is something he doesn't normally do. But I'm watching him in (batting practice). He's got intent to every swing to get himself locked back in. Even when he's not locked in, he's still going to be a tough out."

Carpenter has a club-high 51 strikeouts, including four in one recent game in Colorado. He fanned 98 and 111 times in his first two big-league seasons but is on pace for 133 this season.

But he also is hitting .338 in interleague play over his career and .397 against Kansas City.

All of Carpenter's teams are doing well. The Cardinals have the major leagues' best record. His TCU team is in the College World Series. And his dad, Rick Carpenter, on Friday coached his Prosper, Texas, team to the Class 5A high school championship at Round Rock, Texas, where he also accepted the national high school of the year award.

"Pretty cool," said Carpenter.

Carpenter will be watching with interest on Sunday when 6-foot-7 Mitchell Traver, a 28th-round draft pick of the Cardinals, pitches for TCU against LSU at Omaha. Traver, a red-shirt sophomore, has said he intended to go back to school for another year, but Carpenter said, "Maybe we can lure him away. He might not get picked by such a good team next year.

"You never know he could be a guy who could end in our bullpen in the postseason. Look at (Brandon) Finnegan. …

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