I’m not a conspiracy theory guy at all, BUT I am a huge connect the dots guy. So, let’s connect some dots.
Everyone is wondering what the hell happened with the Cardinals. Since losing 2 out of 3 to the Cincinnati Reds in mid-July, right before All-Star break, they’ve hired Mike Shildt and their hitting has exploded. It led them to a league best 22-6 in the month of August and won 11 series straight until losing 2 of 3, again, from the Reds. During their resurgence, the Cardinals had an unlikely hero, Matt Carpenter.
Good/okay Matt Carpenter. The lifetime .270 hitter who will get you 20-25 home runs a year with a sprinkle of RBI’s here and there. Now, to his credit, Carpenter is a solid lead-off hitter, but he struggled to begin his 2018 season. He was only hitting .140 through mid-May, but that soon changed.
Now, as of September 16th, Matt Carpenter is hitting .268 with 35 home runs. He places in the top 5 of league HRs and runs, and also set the Cardinals franchise record of lead-off home runs in franchise history at over 21 in his career. So, what happened? How did he have this resurgence? It’s gotta be the salsa.
After returning from a road trip in mid-May, Carpenter came home to a freshly planted garden from injured teammate, Adam Wainwright. From that garden, came a “secret” salsa which led to an unprecedented streak of 6 straight games with a home run, which extended to 8 home runs in 12 games. After his historic streak, he said “maybe it’s the salsa.”
Now don’t come at me saying streaks like this just happen. In fact, they do, but it’s very rare and ALWAYS comes from power hitters. Stanton did in it 2017. but he also hit 59 HR that season and is a known power hitter. Matt Carpenter is no power hitter. Since mid-May, Carpenter hit 30 home runs which doesn’t seem like a lot but considering his career high in a season was 28 in 2015, but since then his highest was 21. Then this season he hits 35 so far? Something’s up. Now here is the interesting part:
Everyone knows MLB drug tests at the end of the season. So, what has Matt Carpenter done in the last month? Well, it’s been less that satisfying. Carpenter has hit 3 HRs in his last 30 games, batting .230 with 29 strikeouts. And the salsa, well there has been zero mention of that since his slump started. And the Cardinals, who were riding his high, just got swept by the Dodgers and are 2 games back of the 2nd NL wild card spot. Again, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but these dots connect too well.