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Reserves Coming Through for Cardinals: Fan’s Thoughts
The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 10-3 Sunday, taking two of three in the series and moving the team's record to 7-3 on the season. The Cardinals have a two and a half game lead on the division, tied for the biggest lead in the majors. Much of that success is due to the players who have filled in for injured regulars very admirably early in 2012.
Of biggest note Sunday was first baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter, playing in place of injured Lance Berkman, had four hits, including a triple and his first major league home run. Carpenter also drove in five runs. Ironically, it was probably an injury to another teammate, utility man Skip Schumaker, that allowed Carpenter to make the team out of spring training. Carpenter had at least a hit in each of the three games against the Cubs, finishing the series with seven hits and seven RBIs.
The more famous Carpenter, starting pitcher Chris, is also out with an injury. All his replacement, Lance Lynn, has done is go 2-0 over his first two starts with an ERA of 1.50. Prior to Carpenter's injury Lynn was slated to be a right-handed reliever in manager Mike Matheny's bullpen. Obviously, no one expects Lynn to pitch like Carpenter, but Lynn gained valuable playing time last year under the pressure of the September pennant drive and postseason and has used that experience to get off to a great start in 2012.
Infielder Daniel Descalso played third base in the last two games against the Cubs in place of injured David Freese. Descalso, thought by many to be slotted for a reserve role this season, has started eight of the team's ten games this season and seems to be edging ahead of Tyler Greene as Matheny's preferred 2nd baseman.
Matheny has said that Berkman and Freese are likely to resume playing against the Reds Tuesday, so it would appear that Carpenter and either Greene or Descalso are headed back to reserve roles. Matheny will also have a dilemma as to who to remove from the roster when Schumaker returns from his injury. Fans are happy to know, however, that the Cardinals have a strong and capable bench this year.
A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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