Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter wasn’t in Thursday’s lineup against the Cubs, which didn’t raise many eyebrows as it was considered a routine day of rest. But he wasn’t included in Friday’s lineup against the Pirates, either, which was rather curious.
According to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, Carpenter is dealing with “extreme fatigue” and didn’t travel with the team to Pittsburgh for their three-game weekend series, instead staying in St. Louis to rest. Pete Kozma is playing at third base in Carpenter’s place, batting eighth in Friday night’s lineup. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Carpenter felt an accelerated heart rate and dehydration, resulting in his removal from a May 3 game against the Pirates in the eighth inning.
Losing Carpenter for any amount of time is a huge blow to the Cardinals, who own baseball’s best record at 21-7. Carpenter is batting .333/.403/.620 with 14 doubles, five home runs, 20 RBI, and 23 runs scored spending most of his time either leading off or batting second. Few players can claim they’ve been as valuable this season as Carpenter.
2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.
One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.
The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.