St. Louis Cardinals: Recapping the Series Loss Against the Nationals

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Apr 12, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter (13) reacts after scoring a run against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter (13) reacts after scoring a run against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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St. Louis Cardinals offense: .238 BA, 15 R, 15 RBI, 4 BB, 27 K, 3 SB, 3 2B, 4 HR, .333 RISP

Who’s Hot: Stephen Piscotty

Piscotty didn’t drive in a single run during the Cardinals’ first homestand. He did get banged up and missed three games, but for a guy who figures to make a home in the cleanup spot in the lineup, he needed to get going soon.

He drove in two runs with a pair of singles in the first game of the series and hit the ball hard in both of his fly ball outs. Piscotty went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the second game, but bounced back with a huge performance in game three.

He drove in the first run of the game with a double to left-center field with two outs in the first inning. In the fifth, he collected another 2-out RBI with a bloop single to shallow left. In the eighth inning, he flew out to the warning track in left-center, getting just under a fastball.

The next inning, he didn’t miss his pitch. With two on and two out, he padded his team’s 3-1 lead with a three-run bomb 420 feet to left-centerfield, his first home run of the year. That put St. Louis up 6-1 and all but secured the Cardinals’ only win of the series.

With his long ball, he joined Jedd Gyorko, Randal Grichuk, and Aledmys Diaz as the other Cardinals to go deep in the series. Grichuk’s home run was his second of the year, and Diaz’ was his third.

Overall, Piscotty went 5-for-13 in the three-game set, driving in seven runs. He went 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position, something he excelled at in 2016 when he hit .363 in those situations.

His batting average is up to .273 after a slow start to the season, and his on-base percentage stands at a robust .385. The Cardinals need Piscotty to take hold of the fourth spot in the lineup, and if he continues to perform the way he did against the Nationals, he’ll be a valuable cleanup hitter this for St. Louis.

Who’s Not: Jhonny Peralta

Matheny has given Peralta every opportunity to grab the regular role at third base to begin the season, but his bat is dragging far behind the confidence his manager is displaying in him.

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He started the first two games of the series and went 1-for-6 with a strikeout. A bit of bad luck came his way when a hard-hit ball in the hole in the fifth inning of game one was turned into a double play by Washington shortstop Stephen Drew.

Peralta was switched out of game two for Greg Garcia after going hitless in his first three at-bats. In the third game, he sat the bench as Jedd Gyorko drew the start at the hot corner.

He’s just 3-for-20 to begin the season. He has no extra-base hits and has not reached base at all save for his three singles. Eight of the seventeen outs he’s made have been strikeouts. He’s started six of the team’s first nine games, but Gyorko might squeeze him for more playing time moving forward.

Gyorko hit his first home run of the season in garbage time late in game one, and got hits in both games two and three when he started at second and third base, respectively.

Next: Closer Seung-Hwan Oh's Troubling Start to 2017

The Cardinals need to keep pushing across runs to string together some wins moving forward. They’ve got the Yankees next before returning home for a brief homestand of three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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