St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Carpenter Injury Might be a Good Thing

Jul 6, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter (13) holds his side after a swing during the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. Carpenter left the game with a right oblique injury. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 6, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter (13) holds his side after a swing during the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. Carpenter left the game with a right oblique injury. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman, no- second baseman, no- first baseman, tweaked his oblique tonight during a checked swing.  At first alarming, this injury could be a good thing.

Sound the alarms: Matt Carpenter appears to be headed to the disabled list.  The St. Louis Cardinals, struggling against winning teams, simply cannot afford to lose a player of Carpenter’s caliber.  Or can they?

Perhaps the better response to the Carpenter injury is that the St. Louis Cardinals should embrace this opportunity for change.  Let me expound: in the wake of Carpenter’s exit, the St. Louis Cardinals (and thereby Mike Matheny) need to encourage other players to rise to the challenge.

Let’s look at this a little deeper.  As soon as Carpenter exited tonight’s game, Kolten Wong entered to replace him.  This spelled a St. Louis Cardinals infield of Jedd Gyorko at first, Wong at second, Aledmys Diaz at shortstop, and Greg Garcia at third.  While at first not threatening, this group strung together hits enough to take a 5-1 lead.

This lead was lost a few innings later, but let’s ignore that for now.

Let’s take a quick wander through statistics review.  First up, Carpenter:

6 Yrs6672390426690180226732013344487.289.381.467.847
162 Game Avg.1625801031684451678384118.289.381.467.847

Now let’s look at Wong who replaced him:

4 Yrs35711841512944510241124178205.248.305.364.670
162 Game Avg.162537691332051151193593.248.305.364.670

Now let’s examine Gyorko:

4 Yrs4191451152343602561904108361.236.293.396.690
162 Game Avg.162561591332312273242140.236.293.396.690
SDP (3 yrs)364130713330958149171496330.236.293.395.688
STL (1 yr)5514419342171901231.236.295.410.705

And how about G. Garcia:

3 Yrs9814625408041502430.274.398.411.809
162 Game Avg.162241416613072504050.274.398.411.809

Last, but not least, Diaz:

Minors (2 seasons)1635867916238318761344101.276.335.444.779
Foreign (6 seasons)34311251933455472716514139114.307.397.439.836
All Levels (9 Seasons)6022058342616122126029732217266.299.376.458.834
AA (2 seasons)136492621333331364123186.270.321.429.750
Fgn (5 seasons)34211221933455472716514139112.307.398.440.838

So we all know that of these Carpenter and Diaz have the most impressive statistics but don’t discredit Garcia.  While his sample size is smaller than others, he has decent material and has displayed this when he was the St. Louis Cardinals to start the season and again in increments since rejoining.

Herein lies the rub: maybe the exit of Carpenter will force Matheny to try to new things and new players.  Maybe with Carpenter out, and Wong likely the best solution at second (Garcia would probably fit this bill but the Jhonny Peralta injury has him at third), maybe Matheny (and Mozeliak) will try others in the outfield.

While I’m mildly joking, maybe this is the time to bump someone like Harrison Bader into the majors for giggles sake.  We have all heard it said that a player jumping directly from AA to MLB is not out of the question and is as easy as jumping from AAA.  Let’s

These are Bader’s stats:

201521-0.42 TeamsA-A-6123540731321132171549.311.368.523.892
201521-0.1State CollegeA-7296112024205.379.400.6551.055
All Levels (2 Seasons)1345188315424624652635128.297.358.506.864

Would be an interesting gamble, no?  Want to know more about Bader?  Read our articles covering this young St. Louis Cardinals phenom here.

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In short, while the St. Louis Cardinals lost tonight’s game, they might have also lost Carpenter for a short while.  That said, it is time for players to step up, show what they’ve got, and make an impact.  This is more an indictment on Matheny than the players themselves and may force the manager to actually manage.

Let me add this: I am often frustrated by Matheny’s inability or unwillingness to deviate or move a player to a different spot (or use a different player) in the interest of making impact in lieu of sticking to a stock plan.

Example: Matt Holliday, according to Matheny, must always hit in the four spot whether he is producing as a four-spot hitter or not.  The St. Louis Cardinals deserve a more responsive managerial style– at least with this year’s team!

One thing more: if Carpenter is injured significantly enough to miss the All-Star game, perhaps Diaz can slot into his spot.  He is deserving after all and the St. Louis Cardinals would still have representation.

Next: Time to Play Angrily

Let us hope for a few things: Carpenter is not headed to the DL and simply needs some rest, or that Matheny will utilize players who need to prove themselves and that they do, or that the St. Louis Cardinals find their winning way regardless of the method to this end!