Apparently the more I harrass Nick Punto for being a bad hitter, the more likely he is to put together ostentatious displays of timely hitting while still not being a good hitter. The nice thing about Punto, besides the fact that he tripled a few hours ago to put the Cardinals ahead of the Braves for good, is that he's a very polite bad hitter; it's clear that he is both aware of his limitations and forced, nevertheless, by an unwelcome trick of baseball fate to come to bat once every nine times, so he takes a lot of pitches, draws plenty of walks, and continues to play excellent defense in the meantime.
But he still shouldn't ever be a leadoff hitter, unless he starts taking Max Bishop lessons.
Chris Carpenter doesn't have any wins, and he looked exceptionally hittable for a guy allowing three runs in seven innings, but his velocity is still great and his gameplan looks identical to the one he's had since his 2009 comeback, so I'm not ready to be worried—especially when the call is to be worried for a guy with a K:BB ratio of 2.9 who's allowed a lot of home runs to date.
As for the bullpen shuffling, I have no idea what this means for who pitches in the average ninth inning, and no particular concern about it, but it does seem increasingly unlikely that Tony La Russa will part with either Eduardo Sanchez or Fernando Salas, given the way he's used both and the way each has responded. I would not be shocked if we saw the brief and unwelcome return of the 13-man bullpen when Brian Tallet was ready to go.
Athlete turn-of-phrase report: Trever Miller earns some points for this, via Matthew Leach: "I will take anything right now," Miller said. "I've been a goat for five games in a row, and I don't like the taste of grass at all, so I'll take that."