A season that started without Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals at 2-6 through 8 games now has them at 30-21 and in first place. The Reds are having many problems, and the Brewers are starting to find their way. Even with the failures of Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols, the Cardinals own a 2 and a half game lead over the hard charging Brew Crew. Pitching and timely hitting has been the key to get the Cardinals back on track. It appears as long as Ryan Franklin can be kept off the mound, the Cardinals have a chance. I still don’t buy all the excuses about sending Mitchell Boggs to the minors in favor of keeping Franklin on the team, but who I am to argue with Tony LaRussa?
So let’s take a look at the Cardinals offense through the first 51 games. Today, I’ll just use individual stats from players with enough qualifying at bats. I’ll do the team and pitching rankings soon. Since not all readers are fans of sabermetrics, I tried to balance it out for you. Because of injuries and limited number of at bats, I set the rankings based on batters in the NL that had a minimum of 140 plate appearances.
|Theriot||170||.294 (23rd)||.344 (40th)||.673 (75th)||0.2 (84th)|
|Rasmus||176||.273 (39th)||.377 (14th)||.792 (31st)||2.0 (11th)|
|Pujols||199||.261 (50th)||.330 (55th)||.737 (48th)||0.9 (43rd)|
|Holliday||149||.349 (2nd)||.439 (4th)||.996 (2nd)||2.5 (3rd)|
|Berkman||140||.350 (1st)||.463 (1st)||1.113 (1st)||2.2 (6th)|
|Molina||151||.318 (8th)||.365 (23rd)||.834 (19th)||1.4 (26th)|
As you can see by the stats and as you already know with your eyes, Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday are carrying the Cardinals on offense, while Colby Rasmus and Yadier Molina and definitely making the lineup deeper and more consistent. Pujols is in the slump of his career, and there’s no room for excuses. He has Holliday and Berkman killing the ball behind him, and Rasmus providing him plenty of opportunities, along with other shining spot starters like Jon Jay, with men on base in front of him.
Pujols is going to struggle to come close to his career averages across the board. With every 0 for 4, I’m sure Dan Lozano is cringing. We’ll all give him more time to adjust as long as the Cardinals are winning, but I bet those 8 years and over $200 million guaranteed might end up looking pretty good in hindsight.