(BaseballStL) — Allen Craig has had a tough start to 2014. He’s 3-for-31 with six strikeouts, no extra base hits and three RBIs.
Last year’s 97 runs batted in and .315 average loom over the start of this season, and with each frustrating outcome at the plate, they loom a bit larger.
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To that end, Mike Matheny gave his right fielder a day off Wednesday.
“Definitely want to get Allen Craig going, and sometimes a couple days- not saying we won’t see Allen late in the game- but give him some time to get in here, get some extra swings, get out of the routine that isn’t working for him right now,”
With an off day on Thursday, Craig will get two and a half days to recenter his approach. His .313 average in spring training coupled with the fact he ran well in Jupiter raise questions about his current health; but Matheny dismissed the notion of injury, saying it’s a matter of results, not method.
“He’s real close. He really is. I know he feels it. We’re seeing somethings that look like it. Just kind of breaking it up give hime a couple days to get things changed,” he said.
It’s certainly not the first time Craig has had a stretch like this. In 2013, from July 25 through August 1, the All Star went 3-for-31 with 10 strikeouts and just three RBIs. The Cardinal manager noted that when it’s the first 31 at bats, everyone seems to notice more.
“It’s amazing how this is magnified when it’s the beginning of the season. This happens in June or July, people just say it’s a little rut,” Matheny said. “Everything is a little more magnified I think when you start the season. Everybody wants to have a good start, no question.”
Jon Jay will start in right field for Craig and bat seventh.
Here is the rest of Cardinal lineup:
1) Matt Carpenter 3B
2) Kolten Wong 2B
3) Matt Holliday LF
4) Matt Adams 1B
5) Yadier Molina C
6) Jhonny Peralta SS
7) Jon Jay RF
8) Peter Bourjos CF
9) Shelby Miller P