4/19/2013 12:53 A.M. ET
Carpenter gets nod as Cards' leadoff hitter
By Jay Greenberg / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- It was no reflection on Jon Jay and his .292 on-base-percentage, said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, that Matt Carpenter led off Thursday night for the first time in his 136-game Major League career. Carpenter, normally the two-hole hitter, has top-of-the-order skills that Matheny felt could be put to good use against a top-of-the-rotation-caliber left-hander like Cole Hamels. Jay was moved to the seventh spot in the lineup.
"Jon Jay does a nice job in the leadoff role and will continue to do so," said Matheny before his team opened a four-game series in Philadelphia. "There are times when the matchup looks [right] to get a [guy like] Carpenter in there.
"He has really shown an ability to have tough at-bats, especially when you are going up against a tough left-hander like a Hamels. [Carpenter] can take a borderline pitch, one that is away from the zone where your approach is for that particular at-bat or particular pitch.
"He also has the ability to drive in runs so there are times he could be more aggressive down the lineup. He has such a knowledge of balls that he can hit hard. Not that he is going up to take pitches -- he is just waiting for a pitch in a particular area or a particular pitch, depending upon who he is facing.
"It's a great approach. Not everybody can get away with it because not everybody has the knowledge of the strike zone, the ability to see the ball the way he does."
Carpenter seconded that notion, even as he moved up one spot, and not for the first time in his baseball existence.
"I did it here and there at other levels," he said. "My style of bat is very conducive to normal leadoff hitting, so I am not going to try and change anything."
Carpenter went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Thursday.
Matheny trying to find spot for Wigginton
PHILADELPHIA -- Ty Wigginton's 5-for-9 career numbers against Cole Hamels did not get him his second start of the season Thursday, but there is a good chance his 7-for-22 vs. Roy Halladay will get him in the lineup Friday night.
"Today was certainly a consideration but there's a couple guys on this staff he hits pretty well," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "There is a good chance Ty will get a start here."
Wigginton came into the series 2-for-13, mostly in a pinch-hitting and late-inning replacement role. But on a team that leads the Majors with a .392 average with runners in scoring position, he is not the only Cardinal for whom Matheny is searching for at-bats. Matt Adams was 11-for-21 and didn't start Thursday night, either.
"It's an incredibly challenging problem to have," said Matheny. "But we have some very good players who came into this season as our everyday guys who are doing a good job.
"We just have extra depth. There is no reason to send Matt Adams to Triple-A. He has nothing to prove there, so it's just a matter of keeping him active and fresh and out there a couple times a week. It will give guys more rest.
"It does seem to work itself out over time. We would rather it not because that means somebody went down."
• "We're not making any statements one way or another as to who we use where," said Matheny about his bullpen by committee that, in the absence of Jason Motte, so far has pitched to a .296 opposition batting average, highest in the National League entering Thursday. "We'll stay consistent with it. We're just going to have to see every night; that's just how it is going to be for a while."
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.