(BaseballStL) – After a season where the Cardinals hit an unbelievable .330 average with runners in scoring position to lead MLB, the beginning of 2014 has been a blunder to the offense as they’ve come flailing out of the gate.
In their first 23 games, the Redbirds have been shutout 6 times as opposed to 3 games in the same time during 2013. Four starters are also hitting below .250, Jhonny Peralta, Peter Bourjos, Allen Craig and Kolten Wong.
The struggles continue as the Cards are only hitting .190 (16 hits) with runners in scoring position and 2 outs, compared to .305 last season.
The outscome has produced just 79 runs for the Cards through Thursday, just 2 runs more than the Chicago Cubs, and ranks third to last in the NL at almost 10 runs off from the NL average.
“We’re not stacking hits on top of each other,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, “We’re not getting the big hit. You can’t expect to win anything when we just didn’t have a whole lot to work with here.”
Thursday against the New York Mets, the Redbirds left 2 runners in scoring position on base in their 4-1 loss. Tony Cruz doubled to score Wong from first, but Matt Carpenter left him on base by striking out. Carpenter’s 2 strikeouts brought his 2014 total to 24 and puts him in the top 12 among NL batters.
That's not a place any team wants their lead-off hitter, considering in April 2013 Carpenter had only struck out 17 times.
This season's occasional clean-up hitter Craig, who hit .454 with RISP in 2013, has 16 strikeouts and only 15 hits. He also has just 5 RBIs, compared to 18 he recorded in April 2013. And with a team that has trouble scoring runs, they sorely miss the 13 run difference just from Craig.
“The one thing that sticks out to me and sticks out to our guys is we’re not playing the kind of baseball that we can play with the things that we can control,” Matheny explained, “We’re seeing some grinding out at bats, but not as much as these guys would like to. When that starts coming around, so will the wins.”