As things stand at this moment, on the morning of the 18th of September, the Cardinal offense is still, with all the worrisome inconsistency and ups and downs we've endured, in what appears to be pretty damned good shape. I have to admit, it's hard to believe how good this offense still is, considering how it feels most days.
The Redbirds currently rank third in all of baseball in runs scored with 728. They are the top-ranked offense in the National League, and it isn't particularly close. The Cards clock in at number three, behind the Red Sox and Tigers, and then there's a whole bunch of other American League teams behind them. Finally, in the tenth spot, we hit another NL team; the Reds come in second in the National League with 662 runs. That's...a rather large gap.
El Birdos are fifth in MLB in on-base percentage; their .330 mark is the best in the NL, two points better than the Los Angeles Dodgers.
First in the National League in doubles, second in all of baseball with 298, 20 better than the next-best Cubs.
Second in the National League in total bases; the only team with more are the Rockies. And, let's face it, the comparison between Coors Field and Busch Stadium isn't exactly a fair one.
That's all the good stuff. And, hell, it's almost all good stuff for the Redbirds in 2013, at least as far as the offensive numbers go. Well, except for one tiny little thing.
The Cardinals have 117 home runs on the season. That is the fourth-lowest total in all of baseball, third worst in the National League. No other team in baseball shows such a bizarre dichotomy, of an offense capable of scoring runs by the boatload while having so little ability to put the ball over the wall.
Matt Holliday hit his 20th home run of the season last night; barring a binge on bombs by Matt Adams, only Holliday and Carlos Beltran will hit 20 or more dingers this year. It's really staggering to look at the lack of punch up and down the lineup, and then realise just how good they are in spite of it. Still, I can't quite shake the feeling that relying on an historically great batting average with runners in scoring position isn't an entirely sustainable model for offensive excellence. I hope I'm wrong, and the magic can just keep on lasting through October.
I'm in a hurry this morning; I hope you'll forgive me the abbreviated post. I had thought to look ahead at the suddenly-scary Washington series, as the Nationals have managed to scratch and claw their way back into the NL Wild Card race, at least sort of, but alas, I am simply not going to have time for a full-on classic RB epic. My apologies.
Adam Wainwright takes the mound tonight. I won't say I feel good about that, because it seems like every time I do something goes wrong. But, I suppose it could be worse, right?