The lineup for tonight’s game against the Pirates has just been posted. It does not contain the name “Freese”. He has not seen action since the game he was hit on the wrist by a pitch in Cincinnati. Matheny has since had the opportunity to call upon a right-handed pinch hitter in important situations, and that hitter has not been David Freese. Maybe the time off means that the team has adopted a very conservative, cautionary approach to injuries. Maybe. If so, that would contrast greatly with the previous Lance Berkman DL stint in which he returned without a rehab assignment.
Not to criticize the team here, but this leaves room for questioning the exact status of Freese’s injury. Understand that the explanation we likely will receive tonight is that Freese is 0 for 5 in his career against A.J. Burnett. No doubt, this is true. Perhaps just as importantly his replacement at the hot corner, Matt Carpenter, stands 3 for 5 in his career against Burnett. Still, one almost has to wonder whether this decision rests solely on Matheny wanting to play some matchup baseball or on the possibility that Freese’s wrist has not responded well or quickly enough to treatments.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, Carpenter provides a more than adequate backup for Freese at 3B. He enters the game hitting .310/.375/.495/.870 on the season and .395/.419/.579/.998 in August. Despite having about half as many at-bats in August as Freese, “Marp” only trails Freese by 2 RBI for the month (12-10). The Cardinals have depth at a lot of positions, and that depth has certainly paid dividends this season. However, basically shortening the bench while Freese’s status remains uncertain has to worry some. If his status does not change soon, it should worry all in spite of whatever
excuses reasons the team passes along to fans.
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