Cardinals’ Matheny gives pair of Matts a day off against Cubs’ Arrieta
ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals’ lineup will be missing its top two hitters in the finale of an 11-game homestand.
Matt Holliday’s team-best .344 average and Matt Carpenter’s team-best .620 slugging percentage have been constant, critical pieces to St. Louis’s 20-7 start. But manager Mike Matheny said 16 games in the last 16 days — many of which have been long, hard-fought battles — made a break necessary.
"That’s emotionally draining, physically draining," Matheny says. "Some of these other guys have been stepping up big and got to keep them sharp."
Holliday and Carpenter’s struggles against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta also played a factor in Matheny’s decision, which he made well in advance. Holliday is 1 for 15 in his career against the right-hander, while Carpenter — a former teammate of Arrieta’s at Texas Christian — is zero for 13.
Mark Reynolds will take Carpenter’s place as the starting third baseman for the first time all season, and Peter Bourjos will play center field, moving Jon Jay over to left. Gold Glove winner Jason Heyward remains in right field, giving the Cardinals their best defensive combination in the outfield.
"We like how it’s come together, able to throw that in there sometimes late in the game," Matheny says. "But to have it from the top, yeah, it’s a good defensive outfield and we like how they all swing the bat."