Nothing irregular about Carp's hitting

BALTIMORE -- Mike Carp is drawing back-to-back starts for the first time in nearly three weeks, and little wonder.

With three hits in Saturday’s 7-3 win over the Orioles, Carp has posted a slash line of .387/.429/.516 in July, mastering in the 10 games he has played (8 starts) one of the more difficult, if unrecognized, skills in the game: the ability to hit despite playing irregularly.

Manager John Farrell cited Carp’s two-out single in the fourth inning, in which Carp fouled off four pitches from Scott Feldman before lining a full-count cutter to center, as the catalyst to a Sox offense that had been slumbering. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a first-pitch base hit before Stephen Drew unloaded the first of his two home runs.

“He’s got a pretty swing, a compact swing," manager John Farrell said. “There’s low maintenance to it. That’s why he’s able to come off the bench and do a heck of a job when called upon. He probably should get more ABs the way he’s swinging the bat, and maybe we might."

Carp has 12 multi-hit games in the 55 games in which he has played, and he has 24 extra-base hits (14 doubles, 2 triples, and 8 home runs) in 143 at-bats. Project those numbers over a full season of 550 at-bats, and you’re looking at very impressive production: 54 doubles and 31 home runs. With an overall slash line of .329/.388/.622, Carp could easily be clamoring to play more, but he has not made an issue of it, an asset in a business where an unhappy bench player can be a disruptive force.

And for the record, stats analyst Bill James can take a bow for Carp’s presence on the Sox. The team’s pro scouts, notably Jeff Peck, had tracked Carp for the last couple of seasons, but Farrell acknowledged that James lobbied for his acquisition when the Sox were looking for an extra outfielder-first baseman.

The Sox had initially brought in veteran Lyle Overbay, but let him go the last week of camp. Carp has far outperformed Overbay (.248/.299/.422/.721), who wound up with the Yankees when they needed a first baseman in the wake of Mark Teixeira’s injury.