I love a good rivalry, but sadly almost any decent rivalry these days transitions from actual bad blood to respect to a downright love-fest so damn quickly. I guess that’s human and grounded and everything, but there is some weird feeling of loss when “death to my enemy” is replaced by “a worthy effin’ adversary.”
Such is the case with Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper. Hamels is no longer interested in teaching him what is and what is not old school and is on to venerating the young lad:
Players get to vote on the All-Star bench, and due to both performance and star-power, Harper is more than worthy of the vote. Still, I’m hoping part of this is about some secret agenda on the part of Hamels to attack Harper with a folding chair in the NL Clubhouse in Kansas City next month.
Why yes, I did watch a lot of pro wrestling as a kid. Why do you ask?
Matt Carpenter pulled his weight and then some during the Cardinals’ 18-5 win on Friday, becoming just the second player in MLB history to tally three home runs and two doubles in the same game… and the first-ever to do so in the first six innings of a single game.
Carpenter wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board, first drawing a full count against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, then ricocheting a 92.4-MPH fastball off the scoreboard in right field for a leadoff home run. He returned in the second inning for another two-run shot and capped a seven-run spread in the fifth with an RBI double (his first double of the game was a leadoff hit in the fourth) before polishing off his performance with a third, three-run homer in the sixth.
Following Friday’s explosive five-run, seven-RBI performance, Carpenter is now batting .274/.381/.576 on the year with 23 home runs, 30 doubles and a .957 OPS in 388 PA. The last player to record five extra-base hits in one game was the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, who collected four runs and six RBI for the team back in June 2016. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch pointed out, Carpenter might have set another franchise record for most home runs in a game had interim manager Mike Shildt not removed him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. The record is still held by former club outfielder Mark Whiten, who collected four home runs (and a staggering 12 RBI) against the Reds in September 1993.