Carpenter coming through in a pinch

Carpenter coming through in a pinch

Carpenter coming through in a pinch
ST. LOUIS -- With his key two-run, pinch-hit single in Monday night's 8-2 Cardinals victory, Matt Carpenter became the first St. Louis rookie to accrue eight pinch-hit RBIs in a year since 1987.

It was John Morris who had eight in that '87 season, though he also needed 10 hits and 33 at-bats to reach that total. Carpenter has driven in eight in 19 at-bats. He has five hits in the pinch-hit role so far.

"It's not an easy thing to do, but as far as being comfortable with it and accepting it and giving it your best effort and being focused ... that's definitely something that I've gotten better at," Carpenter said. "As the season goes on, you get more and more experience and you get put in those situations more often. You're more prepared for that."

Carpenter has a ways to go to match the team record for pinch-hit RBIs by a Cardinals rookie. Joe Frazier holds that mark with 15 in 1954.

However, Carpenter is expected to get plenty more chances to drive in runs as a pinch-hitter through the season's final two months.

Carpenter started 24 of the team's first 43 games, a period that overlapped the Cardinals' most trying time with injury issues. But since coming off the disabled list himself on June 22, Carpenter has made only 15 starts. That's because the team's core of position players is almost entirely healthy again.

"It's funny, the days that I do play, I come home and have full energy," Carpenter said. "But the days that I pinch-hit or [do] not even get in at all are days that I'm the most mentally drained. It's tough. You're up and down, trying to put yourself in the situation. ... You can get overwhelmed with it if you don't learn to slow it down."