Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Carpenter Puts Himself on the Spot

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Carpenter Puts Himself on the Spot

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI * Homerless since June 24 after hitting eight in 17 days before that, Cardinals leadoff man Matt Carpenter said any improvement in the moribund Cardinals' offense needs to start at the beginning.

"It starts with me," said Carpenter, who went nothing for four Friday against the Cincinnati Reds, dropping his average to .246. "I haven't hit to my capabilities yet. I'm showing signs. I'm having a better second half than I had a first half but I haven't really gotten hot like I can, and I think I will.

"The same with Stephen (Piscotty). You could really go down our entire lineup and say with everybody but basically Tommy (Pham) that 'we need this guy to get hot.' If that happens when that happens I think our offense is capable."

Although their running in place in the standings doesn't seem to reflect it, the Cardinals are playing better. "We're playing better defense, we're running the bases well. We're pitching well. The bullpen looks like it's solidified," said Carpenter.

"Why we were not good? The bullpen was in shambles for a little bit. We weren't catching the baseball. The starting pitching's always been fairly good. We started beating ourselves a little but we've cleaned that up. Now it's just a matter of getting the lineup clicking.

"I've had months when I've hit nine home runs. If that happens to be August, that's going to help us a lot. I've hit .380 in a month. If I can hit .380 in August, that's going to help us a lot.

"It could be anybody in this room. All it takes is for one guy to get crazy hot and he can carry the team for a while.

"If you look at the history of our teams since I've been playing leadoff, when I've gone well, our offense has gone well. I'm looking to do that," he said.

The Cardinals began the final third, 54 games, of their season Friday against a Cincinnati team whose earned run average (5.96) was nearly a run higher than any other team in the National League. Somehow, the Cardinals still are just 4 games behind division-leading Chicago, even after losing 3-2.

'TUI' IS BACK FOR FIFTH TIME

With Adam Wainwright coming off the disabled list to pitch Sunday, the Cardinals optioned to Class AAA Memphis righthander Luke Weaver, who had a strong start Wednesday in Milwaukee, and recalled righthanded reliever Sam Tuivailala from Memphis. …

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