(BaseballStL) — Jon Jay closed last season on an absolute tear. This year, the Cardinal outfielder found himself clawing for innings with the acquisition of Peter Bourjos and Allen Craig’s move to right.
For awhile, lineup juggling was employed to try and scrape together anything resembling productivity in a stagnant offense.
This meant little consistency in playing time, and each failure and success was magnified.
“We’ve just seen him stay the course. It was a little frustrating for him early not getting as much playing time as what he’d seen the last couple seasons and that’s difficult for anybody,” said Mike Matheny before Tuesday’s game.
Patience has served Jay well.
In April he hit .284 in 67 at bats. In May, he only had 51 at bats, but capitalized, hitting .294 for the month. As his steady approach and consistent production continued, his chances began to increase.
Then, he exploded.
In June, Jay is hitting .375 in just 40 ABs and has only been hitless two times. Tuesday night he reached twice, ripping an RBI triple and scoring in the fifth.
“He’s just doing everything right,” Matheny said after the game. “The way he’s taking his at bats- we’ve seen this before- he can just go, and it’s fun to watch him go.”
Just when 2014 looked to be the year St. Louis moved away from Jay, he played himself back into not only relevance, but necessity.
The Cardinals are 8-5 in the month, and have rattled off five straight, something Jay’s presence in the lineup has facilitated. He’s now scored 10 times in 13 games, accounting for 22 percent of all of St. Louis’ runs when he plays.
“He handles his successes well, he handles his failures well,” Matheny said. “You’re going to have both in this game.”
The Cardinals have had to manage both this season, and Jay’s steady climb has help the latter transform into the former.