Jeff Roberson/Associated Press/Associated Press
Matt Adams (right) celebrates with Allen Craig (left) after hitting a home run against the Nationals June 15
Production at the plate remains somewhat of a mystery.
St. Louis' overall slugging percentage (.367) ranks 28th in the majors and 13th in the National League. Collectively, the Cardinals get on base 32 percent of the time (13th in the majors, fifth in NL), which is a respectable number, but it's not great. As a club, they’re hitting .252, which ranks 17th in baseball.
As much as I would like to say the Cardinals’ home run total is irrelevant, it isn’t. In fact, it’s quite glaring.
The lack of home runs is no surprise (unless you’re of the completely delusional variety). The long ball has been on the decline over the last three seasons. En route to their 11th World Series championship in 2011, the Cardinals hit 162 homers (13th in MLB). A year later, they totaled 159 (17th in MLB). Last season, they just managed 125 (27th in MLB). This season so far? Just 41 (29th in MLB).
Does the lack of home runs come as a shock? No. However, it is somewhat concerning considering how destructive this lineup can (and should) be.
It’s good to see Matt Adams (literally) ripping the cover off the ball since he returned from the disabled list on June 13. Since returning to the lineup, Big Country is 7-for-16 with a triple, three homers and six RBI. That stretch includes three consecutive games with a home run.
Matt Holliday’s bat also appears to be warming up, which is another positive sign. In his last three games, he's batting .500 with three runs scored, two doubles, a home run and four RBI.
Can we expect Holliday to maintain this consistency at the plate? Based on statistics, I’d like to believe so. Over the last three seasons (2011-13), his best months have been June (.314 avg.) and July (.320). But Holliday has been a streaky hitter his entire career.
Let’s take a deep breath and come back to reality. Even though some of the Cardinals’ big bats are finding their stroke, it would be nice to have more firepower in the lineup.
Another power bat, perhaps? Statistically, the Cardinals are struggling to hit, much less score. Throw away their last 12 games. That’s an outlier. The Cardinals have grounded out 791 times this season, fourth-most in all of baseball. They’re hitting just .245 with runners in scoring position.
This trend needs to change.