Carpenter is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Rangers, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Carpenter has started 18 of the last 19 games but will head to the bench for Sunday's series finale at Texas. The 33-year-old is slashing .212/.307/.348 over 17 games in May. Harrison Bader will enter the leadoff spot and man center field while Jedd Gyorko starts at third base and bats eighth.
Carpenter went 2-for-5 with an RBI ground-rule double and a run in a win over the Rangers on Saturday. Carpenter's fifth-inning blast, which hit the top of the 14-foot wall in left field at Globe Life Park, was originally ruled a home run. However replay review ultimately rendered it Carpenter's eighth two-bagger of the season instead, but it still served to jump-start an impressive four-run inning for the Cardinals. The veteran is still hitting just .212 in May, but he's now reached safely in six straight games while rattling off three extra-base hits (two doubles, one homer) during that stretch.
Carpenter went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in a loss to the Braves on Thursday. Carpenter's eighth-inning, 398-foot shot was only the veteran's second home run since April 17 and snapped a 1-for-19 funk that had encompassed his previous four-plus games. Manager Mike Shildt recently gave Carpenter a vote of confidence with respect to his leadoff role, but the fact remains that, despite Thursday's round tripper, the 33-year-old infielder is currently hitting under .200 (.196) for the second consecutive month.
Carpenter, who went 1-for-5 with an RBI double, a walk and a run in a win over the Braves on Tuesday, will remain in the leadoff spot for the time being despite his season-long struggles, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. "He's got the right approach for it," manager Mike Shildt said. "He's an All-Star-caliber player, an MVP-caliber player. He understands what that looks like. We all want to see the results, including him, [be] more consistent." Carpenter's season line remains a middling .201/.319/.338 through 182 plate appearances, but the Cardinals' skipper appears set to stick with the veteran at the top of the order for the time being. While Carpenter has been a notoriously slow starter in several seasons during his career and most recently dug himself out of a similar hole in 2018, he has experienced some regression in key areas thus far this season. Langosch notes the infielder's barrel rate is down from last year's 13.7 percent to 8.3 percent, while his hard-contact rate is down a full 10 percentage points to 34.7 percent.
Carpenter is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Pirates. With a lefty (Steven Brault) on the mound for Pittsburgh and the Cardinals playing a day game after a night game, manager Mike Shildt evidently viewed it as an opportune time to give Carpenter just his third day off of the season. Carpenter, who went 0-for-9 over the first two games of the series, will be replaced at third base by Jedd Gyorko.