Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Carpenter reconstructs past success
By Mark Simon
Busch Stadium was a very pleasant place for Cardinals utility man Matt Carpenter through the first month of the 2012 season.
In his first 48 at-bats there, Carpenter had 11 extra-base hits, including three home runs. After a home run on May 15, his slugging percentage at Busch was a booming .771.
But it took until Game 3 of the NLCS for that sort of power to return. His first home run at home since May 15 played a huge role in Wednesday’s rain-soaked win.
Carpenter had been struggling to hit with much thump anywhere prior to Wednesday’s long ball.
He had only one extra-base hit in his last 47 at-bats entering the day, when he came in as a replacement for injured rightfielder Carlos Beltran.
But Matt Cain threw a 2-2 pitch into one of Carpenter’s hot spots-— over the middle-third of the plate height wise, on the inside corner. Carpenter had 43 hits and a .355 batting average against pitches thrown at that height this season, and even better numbers when you just isolated his performance against right-handed pitching.
It was a great bounceback from the 0-2 hole that Carpenter faced earlier in the at-bat. But that's a situation Carpenter has thrived in this season.
He's now 18-for-62 (.290 batting average) in at-bats that end after an 0-2 count this season. That's well better than the major-league average of .168.
Not your typical postseason win
Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse also enjoyed the benefits of home, a place where he was 8-1 with a 2.33 ERA during the regular season. His home-game ERA ranked third-best in the NL, trailing only Game 3 counterpart Matt Cain (2.03) and Clayton Kershaw (2.05).
Lohse’s specialty in game 3 was stranding baserunners. He allowed seven hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings, but got his first career postseason home win.
Lohse became the second pitcher in postseason history to win a game in which he allowed at least 12 baserunners in fewer than six innings pitched. The other was George Earnshaw of the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics.
The Giants were 7-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the NLCS, but were 0-for-7 in Game 3.
Pen and Blink
The Cardinals bullpen threw another 3 1/3 scoreless innings to lower its postseason ERA to 1.93.
Among the contributors was Trevor Rosenthal, who brought the heat to finish the sixth inning.
Rosenthal got Angel Pagan to ground out, the sixth time this postseason he’s gotten an out with a pitch registering 100 miles-per-hour or faster. He only got three such outs in the regular season.
Cardinals closer Jason Motte recorded a six-out save, the first by a Cardinals reliever since June, 2011, and the first by a Cardinal in postseason play since Steve Kline notched one against the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.
Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Day
In best-of-seven postseason series tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner has won 60 out of 83 times. That’s a series winning percentage of 72 percent. Since 2008, the team that won to go up 2-1 has won all eight series.