Over the last couple of weeks, most of the St. Louis Cardinals lineup conversation has been about what Matt Carpenter has done since moving to the lead-off position. He has hit safely in all 10 games (.447, 17-38) at the top of the order with four home runs, seven doubles, and 11 runs driven in.
But since June 8th, when he returned to the lineup after an off-day prior, Dexter Fowler has also put up some impressive numbers–a .367 (11-30) batting average with three home runs and nine runs driven in.
“It’s a game of luck,” said Fowler before the team departed for Baltimore. “You have to keep hitting the ball, finding holes now.”
And leading-off or hitting second makes little difference to Fowler.
“None, I take the same at-bat, either place I’m at,” he said.
There is some difference, but the numbers basically back Fowler up. In his career, Dexter has a slash line of .265/.364/.430 in 3264 plate appearances as a lead-off hitter. The line changes to .258/.351/.400 batting second (802 PAs), and .274/.377/.353 hitting third (255 PAs).
The last couple of seasons, Fowler has been trying to set the table for hitters behind him. What’s it like to now have Carpenter setting the table for him?
“It’s awesome,” replied Fowler with a smile. “Awesome him swinging the bat like that. That’s all you can ask for. He puts us in good situations and we hope to capitalize on them.”
Obviously it’s a small sample size, but with Carpenter being on base has there been a difference in the pitches Fowler is seeing versus when he was leading off?
“I don’t know,” he answered. “Obviously, being on–he was on second a lot. Good pitches, but they’re around the zone and you just try to get the job done.”
Second on the team, Fowler is hitting .357 (15-42) with runners in scoring position and is also second with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs.
photo credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports, Bill Greenblatt/UPI
#STLCards vs. Baltimore (6/17):
J. Martinez 1B
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 17, 2017