Yes, it's just 2 games into the postseason but anyone with a 1.500 slugging percentage is doing something right and deserves to have people take notice. Well that's exactly where Cardinals 3rd baseman Matt Carpenter is at the moment.
After 2 more hits - one of them a 411 foot bomb to right center field off Dodgers lefty J.P. Howell in the 8th - Carpenter is playing like the Cardinals thought he would when they signed him to a big contract extension in spring training.
He's also learning a lot from last year when he started red hot but cooled off considerably by the time October rolled around.
"I told myself looking back on last postseason I would much rather perform at a high level in the postseason than do it all year and not (play well in October)," Carpenter said. "This is what we play for. I feel good at the plate and I would much rather feel good at the plate now than in Game 161 or 30. This is when it counts."
Carpenter's teammates aren't shocked at all by this.
"This is what we expect out of (Carpenter)," Jon Jay said. "We see how much he grinds day in and day out and we know how much he means to this team. This (hot play of his) doesn't surprise me at all."
"That's who he is. He's a clutch hitter," Lance Lynn said. "He puts a quality at-bat together a lot of times. More times than not he's a tough out. He's one of those guys that's like a gnat to another pitcher and it's good to have him on our side."
Not only did Carpenter go 2-3 in Game 2 in Los Angeles, he also had the knockout punch against Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 on Friday night. There are those who believe Carpenter epitomizes what the Cardinals are all about. He grinds at-bats. He never gives in. He never loses focus during a plate appearance.
He makes the pitcher earn whatever they get against him.
Right about now, Matt Carpenter is also the hottest hitter on the Cardinals offense.