Cards focus is take “tough at bats”

Cards focus is take “tough at bats”

Credit: Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 15: Pete Kozma #38 of the St. Louis Cardinals warms up in the on deck circle during Game Two of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 15, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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BaseballStL

Posted on October 19, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Updated Sunday, Oct 13 at 2:05 PM

(BaseballStL) – The Cardinals tough lineup is not about to sneak up on anyone, however the production from the back half of the order is causing huge headaches for the Giants.

Even with Beltran on the bench, Giants pitchers just don’t get a break as they work through a string of solid hitter after solid hitter.

“That's really what we preach around here is grind at bats. We saw it in Washington and most of the season, where these guys just don't give in,” said manager Mike Matheny following the Game 4 win.

Rookie shortstop Pete Kozma is batting .286 in the NLCS with four hits and two RBIs. That followed his clutch hitting in the NLDS.

Matheny says his approach to Kozma is to leave the guy alone.

“We are just continuing to stay out of his way, let him keep doing what he's doing. And we keep talking about it and fortunately he's had a very good mental approach of taking the attention, but just deflecting it back and going out there and doing what he does.”

Matt Carpenter made his presence known with a home run in his first at bat after being brought in for Carlos Beltran in Game 3. Matheny says Carpenter’s ability to bring power to the plate and a good eye for getting his share of walks sets the table for the rest of the lineup.

“If you're drawing walks in front of a lineup, the middle of the lineup like ours, and Matt Holliday is starting to do what he does, it's a nice thing to have. Jon Jay getting on right off the top, too, it went well, the top of the order, because the guys were working it,” says Matheny.

"Young players stepping up and having big success in the postseason has made our lineup even tougher to deal with. I think when you can score runs in any inning, because the bottom of the lineup is swinging the bat's well, it makes it harder on the opposing pitcher and it's allowed us to get where we are. Without those guys we're probably not here," said Matt Holliday.

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