NEW YORK -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is still learning how to guide Jhonny Peralta through the ups and downs of the season, and Thursday afternoon's game against the Mets stood to be another lesson.
After another frustrating night at the plate and in the field Wednesday, Peralta was not in the lineup for the final game of the Cardinals' four-game set at Citi Field. The veteran shortstop, who signed a four-year deal with St. Louis this offseason, is mired in an 0-for-21 slump dating back to April 17 in Washington. Entering Thursday, he was hitting just .151 this April.
"He's frustrated, like I or anybody else would be when he continues to press and try to impress," Matheny said. "He's still a new guy in a new town and a new team, and he wants to show what he can do."
In Wednesday night's 3-2 loss, Peralta came to the plate with his team facing a two-run deficit in the top of the eighth with runners on second and third, but he popped out to second base for the second out and the Cardinals came away empty in the inning. That at-bat capped off an 0-for-4 night for Peralta, who was brought in this winter to address the offensive struggles of St. Louis shortstops in 2013.
"It's been there for a long time, for many years, and it's going to be there again, but right now, he seems to keep coming up there in those big situations," Matheny said. "And he's going about the mentality of the thought process the right way, but physically and in application he's struggling to get it done, and that's frustrating for him. Days like this are an opportunity to give him a day to get in and get as many swings as he wants in the cage right now."
Daniel Descalso got the start in Peralta's place on Thursday, fresh off a pinch-hit RBI double in the ninth inning that gave the Cardinals life against Mets closer Kyle Farnsworth. The Cardinals' larger issue is smoothing out Peralta's early issues as the rest of the offense continues to slowly knock the rust off.
"He's going to have a great year, I know it, and this is just going to be one of those bumps that he's going to have to just trust himself through, just like our young guys," Matheny said. "The difference is, Jhonny's probably been here before, we just haven't witnessed it firsthand."
Eric Single is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.