ST. LOUIS -- The extended stays on the disabled list of second baseman Matt Carpenter and right fielder Brandon Moss have certainly caused the Cardinals some problems, but Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk have flourished in their absence.In Friday night's 7-6 loss to the Marlins, Grichuk hit in Carpenter's usual
ST. LOUIS -- The extended stays on the disabled list of second baseman Matt Carpenter and right fielder Brandon Moss have certainly caused the Cardinals some problems, but Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk have flourished in their absence.
In Friday night's 7-6 loss to the Marlins, Grichuk hit in Carpenter's usual leadoff spot for the second time this season and went 2-for-5 with a homer, a double and a run scored. Since Carpenter left, he has also hit seventh, sixth and fourth, including Saturday. The Cardinals' center fielder has a hit in each of the seven games since Moss went on the DL with a left ankle sprain, batting .407 over that stretch.
"I feel comfortable, and I feel consistent with my approach," Grichuk said. "Any time you can come in at the top of the lineup and they think it's a good matchup and you're swinging it well, they want to get you those at-bats."
Pham took his turn at the top of the lineup Saturday for the third time this season and played left field. On Friday, he went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs out of the eighth spot. Pham has six hits, three of them homers, in his last four games.
Left fielder Matt Holliday received a day off Saturday, while Stephen Piscotty manned right field.
"The more you can get hotter hitters to the plate, the more chance of success you can have," manager Mike Matheny said. "You just hope to get guys in a good spot, and when you have those spots open with Carp down right now, you've got an opening for someone to jump in there. How you can replace and fill that spot, whether it's the one spot with Carp being gone or the three spot with Holliday being out, it gives guys opportunities to show what they can do."
Not every transition has been smooth. Holliday played first base Friday and missed a throw in the dirt, which eventually cost the Cardinals a run. It was his first start there since May 15, a start Moss likely would have made if he were available.
"There are some plays you're not going to be able to practice," Matheny said. " [I'm] just encouraging him, because he's doing as good as any first baseman in the game. He just has to let his athleticism go, which comes back to having confidence."
Trevor Rosenthal pitched one-third of an inning Friday, blowing his fourth save while giving up his first two inherited runners of the season. The Cardinals didn't shy away from potentially optioning Rosenthal to Triple-A.
"I don't think you can take anything off the table." Matheny said.
Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.