Maybe a series against the basement-dwelling Phillies was what the Cardinals offense needed to liven up.
The St. Louis bats, having struggled to score runs for months, feasted on Phillies pitching over the weekend, posting back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts for the first time all season after not scoring in double digits since May 19. The 12 runs they put up on Friday marked a season high, in fact, as they tore apart Phillippe Aumont, who was making his first start of the season and was designated for assignment the next day.
The offense, searching for a spark from somewhere, got it in the form of Randal Grichuk, who cranked a home run Saturday and two more Sunday for a total of 5 RBIs. They also got big performances from Jason Heyward, who is suddenly hot! Heyward has bumped his average all the way up to .279 while hitting .355 in June. He also added his 7th home run of the year.
Of course, it would be unwise to ignore the production on Sunday, when the offense was stifled by Adam Morgan, who was also making his first start of the season and only yielded one run in 5.2 innings.
Still, it’s a start, right? Sure, Phillippe Aumont and Aaron Harang aren’t the stiffest of competition, but it’s still major league baseball, and the MLB season is too long to not include some cupcakes every now and then. What needs to be taken from the series is momentum, which the rotation and bullpen have been clearly parlaying in the past few months. The pitching, best in the majors by most measures, has carried the team to it’s surrent 45-24 record that has them several games above the rest of baseball.
The offense, missing it’s typical 3 and 4 hitters, has not followed the same path. They fall well below league average in runs scored, home runs and walks.
So naturally, it’s easy to blow off a nice series against the Phillies as an aberration and list them in the bottom 10 of MLB offenses moving forward.
But that’s the funny thing about baseball, and sports in general. When guys perform, the team around them suddenly becomes better and gets going. Matt Carpenter is starting to look more like himself after enduring a nasty slump through the beginning of June. Kolten Wong is now manning the leadoff spot nearly every day and thriving, proving himself as both an on-base threat and a power threat at the top of the offense. Mark Reynolds’ power stroke is showing its face again, and Jason Heyward is on a tear. Not to mention the sudden emergence of Randal Grichuk.
So will all of this be sustainable?
It’s easy to throw away a series against the Phillies and take nothing back from it, but the Cardinals and their fans can take solace in the offensive onslaught they finally mustered. When an offense clicks, it knows no bounds. The Cardinals can roll out a lineup right now with as many as six hitters near .300, which is not something a lot of teams can boast right now (and that’s not including the DL-present Matt Holliday).
Never overlook a chance at a momentum swing.