Cardinals, Carpenter Heating Up

Adam Wainwright (L) and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (R)

Adam Wainwright (L) and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (R)

The Annual St. Louis Cardinals Playoff Train has taken off. They swept the woeful Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, moving 2 games up in the division.

I remember when everybody got all excited about small sample sizes and thought that the Reds’ 4-0 start actually meant something. Nostalgia… They’ve now lost 7 of their last 8. I don’t think they’ll win 12.5% of their remaining games, but that’s still a bit more representative of the level of talent on their team.

St. Louis has now won five straight while Matt Carpenter is rolling on a streak of seven straight games with a pair of hits. After game 4 on April 11th, Carp was hitting .267. Since then, he’s gone 14-30 (.467), upping his average to an even .400. 9 of those 14 hits have been extra-base hits – 7 doubles and a pair of taters.

* * *

The Milwaukee Brewers got swept again, dropping their 5th straight on Sunday. They were dropped by the Pittsburgh Pirates who, look at this, are now up to even at 6-6 this season.

Milwaukee is off to its worst start in franchise history and has connected for just three home runs through 12 games. They’re 14th in batting average and 15th in both on-base and slugging. And the top 2 pitchers in the rotation have ERAs of 10.34 (Kyle Lohse) and 5.40 (Matt Garza). On the bright side, 26-year old Jimmy Nelson has been solid with a 1.50 ERA in his two starts.

In his first two games after shaving his head, Starling Marte went 4-for-8 with 2 HR for the Bucs. Is it the bald dome? Or is it facing Brewers’ pitching?

* * *

The Kris Bryant Parade started with a 0-4, 3 strikeout day and including somebody in Wrigley yelling “YOU SUCK!!!” at him. The next day he had a pair of singles and drew three walks. Game 3 had a double and another strikeout.

So going up against a San Diego Padres team that is off to a great start, he finished with a .300/.500/.400 slash line. The 4 strikeouts in 13 plate appearances is about what was expected of him. So, so far he’s pretty much played as expected.

While the Chicago Cubs are excited to have Bryant in the lineup now, they loss their first series of the year and only avoided a sweep narrowly, nearly blowing game 2 before coming back to win it in extra innings.

* * *

Speaking of Bryant, here were some interesting articles on him from over the weekend.

Chris Mitchell writes on Fangraphs.com about projections for Bryant’s career.

Tim Healey at Sports on Earth tells you why folks are excited about Brant.

And Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.com tells us that Bryant might be the next… Troy Glaus?

On non Kris Bryant news, Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs.com takes a look at Aroldis Chapman’s… changeup!

* * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 9th 1st
Chicago 7th 9th
Pittsburgh 11th 2nd
Cincinnati 12th 11th
Milwaukee 14th 15th

* * *

Schedule

6-5 CHICAGO Arrieta (1-1, 1.98)
6-6 PITTSBURGH Burnett, AJ (0-1, 2.25)
6:05 PM CT
5-7 CINCINNATI DeSclafani (1-0, 1.38)
2-10 MILWAUKEE Peralta, W (0-1, 4.50)
6:20 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 8 3 W5
Chicago Cubs 6 5 2.0 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 6 6 2.5 W3
Cincinnati Reds 5 7 3.5 L4
Milwaukee Brewers 2 10 6.5 L5
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