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Allen Craig is hitting out of his mind for the Cardinals

May 16, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Allen Craig Getty Images

Allen Craig began the season on the disabled list following November knee surgery and returned to an uncertain role when he came off the shelf on May 1, but other injuries have quickly turned him into an everyday player for the Cardinals and he’s absolutely killing the ball.

Craig went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs yesterday, giving him an extra-base hit in eight of his 12 games. He’s now batting .404 with five homers and five doubles in 47 at-bats, posting a .455 on-base percentage and .830 slugging percentage that adds up to a 1.284 OPS.

To put that in some context, Josh Hamilton has a .402 batting average and 1.305 OPS overall this season. I suppose Craig hitting like Hamilton for 12 games is obviously less noteworthy than Hamilton hitting like Craig all season, but either way the Cardinals’ banged-up lineup is being carried by a guy who missed the first two dozen games and was on the DL two weeks ago.

  1. fearlessleader - May 16, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    He’s doin’ it for Torty.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      Absolutely. When in the lineup…he is ALWAYS doin’ it for Torty.
      He just needs to stay healthy for a change.

  2. bigleagues - May 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I really wish I understood why various media members – especially the interns who write the Players News & Notes – kept speculating and writing that Craig would be a bench player when he returned. Tony LaRussa was starting Craig at 2B because he recognized how potent his bat is. I’ve never seen Matheny make any statement that would have suggested that Craig wouldn’t be a regular starter. So where did this assumption come from?

    No doubt Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran are Starting Outfielders. But even before Craig’s tear, who really believes John Jay is better than Allen Craig? And even if for some reason Matheny chooses to go with John Jay in the OF over Craig – no one can claim that Descalso or Schumaker have seized control of the 2B job – let alone deserve to start their over Craig – who’s bat is clearly superior.

    • bigleagues - May 16, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      <> *there

    • okwhitefalcon - May 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      The temptation to play AC in center or 2B will be overwhelming although neither seems a viable option coming off a still not fully healed knee injury.

      It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, especially over the net 5 games on the coast when the Cards are staring straight down the barrell of Bumgarner tonight. Matt Cain tomorrow, Ted Lilly Friday, Clayton Kershaw Saturday and Billingsley Sunday.

      Yikes.

      • thomas655 - May 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        I would suggest Beltran (if healthy) in center and Craig in right. Allen would be hard pressed to play a middle infield position full time with his not-yet-completely-healed leg, but could probably play a corner outfield position.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      I hear you Big Leagues. Unfortunately, AC didn’t play 2nd base last year for more than about 3 minutes. As a result, he really wasn’t able to gain any semblence of comfort whatsoever. It would be nice for his knee to fully heal (so in my opinion)…MM could give him a legitimate shot at 2nd base. Cause’ he isn’t a Centerfielder.

      • bigleagues - May 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        AC made 8 Starts at 2B last year before an injury derailed that plan. However he did nothing to embarrass himself there, so long term as this season goes forward, I don’t think that can be off the table for MM.

        As for the OF situation, while Jay is younger and perhaps more nimble than a 35-year=old Carlos Beltran – CB still has wheels enough to move back to CF where he spent the bulk of his career. Then Craig goes to RF. Which is a likely scenario that Matheny had described in the Spring – especially if MM deemed it necessary to have Craig’s bat in the lineup.

      • okwhitefalcon - May 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        I don’t think Beltran’s going to CF on anything more than an occassional one off, his right knee is already “barking” (as Matheny put it) and exposing him to anything more than RF
        doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

        As long as Jay is able, he’s the everyday CF and I suspect that will stay the case when he returns from the DL.

        AC will get plenty of AB’s if he remains upright – the odds of Berkman, Beltran and Holliday remaining healthy together over the entire remainder of the year aren’t exactly high.

  3. colehamelz - May 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    OMG, somebody plant one between that guy’s numbers already.

    • willsolo - May 16, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      Your jokes are as funny as the last season of It’s Always Sunny… STOP TRYING.

  4. rooney24 - May 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    I think it makes sense to use Craig to get the other guys some down time. If you played 6 games in an average week, you could give Holliday and Beltran and off day, with Beltran in CF two days.

    LF – Holliday 5 games, Craig 1
    CF – Beltran 2 games, Jay (or someone else) 4
    RF – Beltran 3 games, Craig 3

    Give Craig a start at 1st to give Berkman a break once a week, and Craig is playing 5 games a week. Gives everyone a little break and doesn’t leave any major holes in your lineup, the way they are all hitting.

  5. blues1988 - May 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    rooney, u listen to the fast lane don’t you? lol. jk but i did hear dunc or randy say somethin similar to that.

    • rooney24 - May 16, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      Never heard of fast lane. Just thought it made sense to use all of their guys and try to keep them healthy. My wife is a Cards fan and so I hear a lot more about the Cards than I would have a few years ago. And, they have been more interesting than my Twins so far.

  6. okwhitefalcon - May 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    According to Fox Sports Midwest, Beltran’s out of the lineup for the 3rd straight game tonight with right knee issues – not good.

    As the scribes like to say when they have no idea what the hell’s going on, “story developing”…

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