Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Notes: Cardinals Have One-Third of Season Left

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Notes: Cardinals Have One-Third of Season Left

Article excerpt

The final third of the Cardinals' season 54 games began Friday night. Manager Mike Matheny was surprised that the number of remaining games was so low but also confident that there was plenty of time for his team to put its best foot forward.

Matheny said there had been conversations about "this is the time of the year when you really have to keep some of the distractions out of your mind and out of the clubhouse ... and realize that finish line is creeping up on you.

"You guys are sick of hearing it. I'm sick of saying it. But ... our best baseball is ahead of us."

Matt Carpenter (torn oblique muscle), who was taken off the 15- day disabled list and slapped back into the leadoff spot Friday, said 54 games seemed like a lot to him.

He thought his teammates are "going right to the start of the dog days of August but I feel like I'm coming out of spring training.

"We're in quite a hole as far as the division goes," Carpenter said. "It's going to be hard but not impossible. We're right where we want to be, wild-card wise. That's a lot of games left to do some work, both good and bad.

"We can certainly turn this thing around and trend upward. Or we could go the other way because of how many games are left."

Carpenter said that he didn't have in mind a number of wins the Cardinals would have to achieve to make the playoffs but, when 90 was thrown at him, he said, "If you got to 90, you'd certainly feel good about your chances of getting in the postseason."

To reach 90, the Cardinals would have to finish 33-21, a pace they haven't achieved this year because of various inconsistencies, not the least of which has been baserunning. They had four runners caught in the first three innings of a recent game in Cincinnati.

General manager John Mozeliak said, "This club does seem to run into some outs. You do wish you could prevent some of that. But, then, you hope that all of a sudden you don't completely become station to station."

Carpenter, who had played second base exclusively after being moved there June 6 before he was hurt a month later, is prepared to move between second and third bases.

"That's a conversation Mike and I have already had," said Carpenter. …

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