Josh Hamilton went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts last night, chasing a bunch of pitches out of the strike zone in the process, and now has a batting average below .300 and a slugging percentage below .600 for the first time this season.
That doesn’t sound so bad, of course, but considering how ridiculous Hamilton’s numbers were early on it’s been quite a fall.
He hit .395 with a .744 slugging percentage in April and .344 with a .781 slugging percentage in May, but since June 1 he’s batting just .201 with a .396 slugging percentage and 51 strikeouts in 40 games.
Hamilton has struck out in 30.1 percent of his plate appearances during that time, compared to 18.8 percent in April and May, and he’s also drawn just 13 non-intentional walks in 169 trips to the plate.
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.