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The Cardinals have a major problem on their road to October

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:03 am    Post subject: The Cardinals have a major problem on their road to October  Reply with quote

The Cardinals have a major problem on their road to October, one that wears neither a Giants nor a Mets uniform.

Theyíve moved too far in the direction of power at the expense of the ability to reach base. While the team is among the league leaders in , itís on the strength of a team second only to Colorado in the National League. The teamís of .255 is in the lower half of all MLB teams. And the team is mediocre .326, ranking middle of the pack in the National League.

To make matters worse for the club, things continue to trend in the wrong direction. Over the , the teamís slugging percentage of .456 is actually higher than the season number. A lot of that comes on the back of a franchise record for consecutive games hitting a home run. But over that same period, the on base percentage was a mere .314, which ranks among the worst teams in baseball.

The end result a lot of solo home runs because the club ends up with very few baserunners. Monday nightís loss to the Cubs, in which the Cardinals were no hit through eight innings by Kyle Hendricks only to see a meaningless Jeremy Hazelbaker solo shot break it up, is emblematic of what the offense has become.

Itís perhaps instructive to look at Randal Grichukís . Grichuk has pounded 22 home runs this season despite two stints in the minors. His  ranks in the top 25 in all of MLB. But he canít take walks or hit for average. His on base percentage is a mere .287, in all of MLB. His dismal OBP nearly completely nullifies is superb power, giving him a 103 OPS this season ó a bat barely better than average. As Cardinals blog VivaElBirdos , Grichuk is almost the complete opposite of his predecessor, Jon Jay, who has virtually no power but possesses an uncanny ability to get on base.

The Grichuk approach or the Jay approach works for any given player both are perfectly acceptable MLB center fielders whose skillsets are easy complements to other players in the lineup. Power bats can drive Jay in as he slaps singles and gets hit by pitches. A player like Grichuk can drive balls to the gap to clear the bases or hit the occasional three run homer.

The approach falls down a bit when an entire lineup is punchless the Jay approach or canít reach base and only scores on the home run ball the Grichuk approach . In the Cardinals case, theyíre too Grichuk y.

On any given day, the Cardinals lineup is likely to feature at least four of Grichuk, Jedd Gyorko 26 home runs, .243 AVG, .306 OBP, Brandon Moss 25 home runs, .239 AVG, .315 OBP , Jeremy Hazelbaker 12 home runs Jeremy Hazelbaker Jersey, .239 AVG, .303 OBP , Matt Adams 14 home runs, .248 AVG, .302 OBP , and Jhonny Peralta 7 home runs, .247 AVG, .292 OBP . If the club has bad luck with fly balls that day, or is playing in a park where home runs are difficult to hit like, say, , the offense can quickly sputter out. It may well be the reason the team has performed so poorly at home, in fact.

Indeed, the only good on base percentages on the team belong to Yadier Molina .345 , Matt Carpenter .389 , Aledmys Diaz .375 , and Greg Garcia .388 . Unfortunately, itís rather difficult to get both Garcia and Diaz into the same lineup ó Garcia received most of his playing time while Diaz was out with a broken thumb. To make matters worse for the Cardinals, Carpenterís not been quite himself since coming off the disabled list, and Molina canít play every day though heís certainly trying to, logging a staggering number of innings for a 34 year old catcher .

Much like the clubís bullpen issues, thereís nothing it can do about its imbalanced offensive approach until next season. The clubís best bats are all or nothing players, and while Moss is mired in an  itís difficult for the club to score. But these are the bats that brought the Cardinals to the precipice of staggering into a playoff spot. As frustrating as it may be for fans to watch the club approach double digit runs one day and nearly get no hit the next, this is what the offense is for the remainder of 2016.

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