Carpenter is without peer among active interleague hitters
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)
|Matt Carpenter||St. Louis Cardinals||.338|
|Nick Markakis||Atlanta Braves||.337|
||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)
|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
• 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)
|St. Louis Cardinals
|Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos
|Cleveland Indians||St. Louis Cardinals||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
|Unearned runs allowed||1||11|