St. Louis Cardinals: No, Mike Matheny, no to the lineup

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 27: Matt Carpenter
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 27: Matt Carpenter /

St. Louis Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny recently suggested using Matt Carpenter in the middle of the lineup. How many times will he try this before he learns?

Apparently, the St. Louis Cardinals manager has not learned from one of his failed experiments. Mike Matheny told the media today that he wants to use a lineup with Matt Carpenter batting third.

Matt Carpenter wants to bat third too. Wasn’t this tried in 2017? Yes, yes it was and 2017 showed that it doesn’t work, guys! Plain and simple.

St. Louis Cardinals writer, Derrick Goold shared this tweet today:

Why would Matheny even consider trying this experiment again? I am in the seemingly minority group of Matheny supporters, but this would be ridiculous.

I understand it would be “ideal” to have Matt Carpenter hitting third. His on-base ability and power are the type of combination you want in your number three hitter. But, he just doesn’t hit well anywhere else but lead-off!

For his career, Carp has more than 200 plate appearances in three spots: lead-off, second, and third. Below are his triple slash numbers for each spot:

  • lead-off: .291/.391/.487 for a .878 OPS
  • second: .249/.340/.380 for a .720 OPS
  • third: .221/.355/.397 for a .752 OPS

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It is very clear that he is a much better hitter in the lead-off spot. He can’t seem to explain why, but it is simply true. And, any semi-serious St. Louis Cardinals fan can tell you the same thing, as we have watched this experiment fail a few times.

A hitter’s approach for the first three spots should be similar – get on base. That should be a priority for all hitters, but certain lineup spots may have a slightly different mentality in the batter’s box. The cleanup hitter is generally expected to drive in runs, so he may be a bit more aggressive. The number eight hitter may be slightly more aggressive, knowing the pitcher is behind him. But really, the mentality should be the same for all hitters – get a good pitch and put a good swing on it.

The number three hitter is historically supposed to be your best hitter. Maybe Carpenter puts too much pressure on himself when in that spot. Who knows why really and who cares? He should not hit anywhere else but lead-off. It’s pretty simple.

Next: Does the farm offer protection?

Let’s hope Matheny does not go down this road again. It doesn’t end well, Mike. Keep it simple. What do you guys think? Should Matheny try Carp in the three hole again? Thanks for reading.