Carlson went 2-for-3 with two walks and a pair of runs scored in Wednesday's win over the Padres in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series. Carlson struggled to a .162/.215/.243 line in 23 games in his first big-league stint, but he returned following a brief demotion to hit .278/.325/.611 over 12 games to close the year. If Wednesday's performance is any indication, the latter stretch is closer to what can be expected of the rookie going forward. The Cardinals apparently think so, as they trusted him with the cleanup spot.
Carlson will start in left field and bat cleanup against Brett Anderson and the Brewers on Sunday. As Rob Rains of StLSportsPage.com notes, Carlson is the first 21-year-old player to start a game in the cleanup spot for the Cardinals since Albert Pujols in 2001. Carlson has really turned it on since returning from the alternate site, slashing .313/.361/.668 with two homers in 11 games.
Carlson went 1-for-3 with a two-run double, a walk and a run during a win over the Brewers in the second game of a doubleheader Friday. The rookie continues to look like a completely different player in his latest big-league stint, with Friday's double marking his fourth extra-base hit of the last five games, a stretch during which he also has a pair of multi-hit efforts and seven RBI. Carlson is still slashing just .214/.268/.388 for the season, but his line since being called back from the alternate training site on Sept. 18 is an exponentially more impressive .345/.394/.759 over 10 games (33 plate appearances).
Carlson went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBI In a win over Milwaukee on Thursday. Among a starting lineup composed primarily of veterans. it was the rookie who led the Cardinals to a major victory in their quest for a playoff spot, notching half of the team's four hits and driving in three of their four runs. Carlson knocked in two with a home run to right field in the fourth inning and plated another with a double in the sixth. In doing so, he managed to bring his season average over the Mendoza Line to .202. Since returning to the active roster Sept. 18, Carlson is hitting .320 with nine RBI.
Carlson went 3-for-4 with a two-RBI double and two runs scored in Tuesday's 5-0 win over the Royals. Carlson also tripled and singled in the contest, but he flew out in the eighth inning in his one chance to complete the cycle. The outfielder's biggest contribution was a two-RBI double in the second inning, and he came around to score on Kolten Wong's single. In the sixth, Carlson got aboard with a single and later scored on a Tommy Edman sacrifice fly. In 29 games, the 21-year-old Carlson is slashing .196/.235/.337 with two homers, 11 RBI, nine runs scored and a stolen base.
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