Carpenter is without peer among active interleague hitters

BY foxsports • June 15, 2015

With four games coming up against the Minnesota Twins, Matt Carpenter could be positioned for a jump-start to a season that has slowed after a tremendous beginning.

Even after coming off a 1-for-8 series against the Royals, Carpenter is batting .318 (14 for 44) in 11 interleague games this season. And historically, the Cardinals' third baseman has been even better when facing American League teams.

Carpenter, whose average has dropped from .378 on May 1 to .290 now, leads all active players with a career batting average of .338 in interleague play (minimum 200 plate appearances). He has never faced the Twins, whose first baseman, Joe Mauer, also has performed well in interleague games.

HIGHEST CAREER BATTING AVERAGE IN INTERLEAGUE GAMES, ACTIVE PLAYERS (min. 200 PA)

Player Team Batting average
Matt Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals .338
Nick Markakis Atlanta Braves .337
Dustin Pedroia
Boston Red Sox .337
Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins .333
Skip Schumaker Cincinnati Reds .330

Additional notes of interest from STATS LLC:

• No one in interleague history has collected more extra-base hits than Twins outfielder Torii Hunter, who will be returning from a two-game suspension. Hunter has 117 extra-base hits in his career, followed by Adrian Beltre (112), Alex Rodriguez (108), Albert Pujols (105) and David Ortiz (103).

• Cardinals starter John Lackey used to face Minnesota regularly as a member of Boston's rotation -- and he was very effective. Over his last seven starts against the Twins, Lackey has not allowed more than two earned runs or failed to work at least six innings. He was 4-1 with a 1.38 ERA in those games.

• In the series opener Monday night in St. Louis, Lackey faces Twins starter Trevor May, who is highly dependent on the changeup for strikeouts. So is Michael Wacha, who will be starting for the Cardinals on Tuesday.

HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF STRIKEOUTS VIA CHANGEUPS, 2015 MLB (min. 50 strikeouts)

Pitcher Team Percentage
Kyle Hendricks Chicago Cubs 50.8
Edinson Volquez Kansas City Royals 45.0
Trevor May Minnesota Twins 43.6
Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners 37.8
Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies 36.9
Michael Wacha St. Louis Cardinals
36.8

• The Cardinals have gone 10-8 in their all-time series against Minnesota, thanks largely to a pitching staff that has fashioned a superb ERA in those games.

LOWEST ERA VS. INTERLEAGUE OPPONENT SINCE 1997 (min. 15 games)

Team Opponent ERA
Miami/Florida Marlins
Cleveland Indians 1.94
St. Louis Cardinals
Minnesota Twins 2.43
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos
Seattle Mariners
2.51
Cleveland Indians St. Louis Cardinals 2.55
Detroit Tigers
Atlanta Braves 2.55

• However, the Twins' defense has been much tighter than the Cardinals' over the 18 games, leading to 10 fewer unearned runs allowed.

CARDINALS VS. TWINS, ALL-TIME SERIES

Statistic Minnesota Twins St. Louis Cardinals
Errors 6 17
Unearned runs allowed 1 11

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