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Report: Cardinals interested in Chris Archer

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Discussions between the Cardinals and Rays have “centered on Chris Archer,” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Nothing appears to be imminent, and it’s worth noting that trade talks between the two sides fizzled out last month. Still, as club president John Mozeliak suggested Saturday, the Cardinals haven’t completely ruled out additional upgrades as they prepare for the upcoming season.

The 29-year-old Archer has drawn considerable interest around the league following a strong performance in 2017. The Rays’ ace went 10-12 in 34 starts, earning his second All-Star nomination with a 4.07 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.1 SO/9 in 201 innings. In September, a brief bout of forearm tightness raised some concerns about his durability, but no major structural damage was revealed and it seems unlikely that he’ll be plagued by the injury again in 2018.

The Cardinals may not have a strong need for another starting pitcher, as they’re currently poised to enter the 2018 season with a rotation featuring Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver and newcomer Miles Mikolas. There’s no question that a starter of Archer’s caliber would help them gain an edge over the rival Cubs, however, especially as Lance Lynn has already flown the coop, Alex Reyes is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery and Mikolas has yet to prove that he can duplicate the 2.25 ERA, 1.1 BB/9 and 9.1 SO/9 he posted in NPB last year.

Video: Matt Carpenter makes history with three home runs, two doubles

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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.