Feldman: Grichuk could get major opportunity in October - KMOV.com

Feldman: Grichuk could get major opportunity in October

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CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Randal Grichuk #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides safely with a triple against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning on May 4, 2014 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) By David Banks CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Randal Grichuk #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides safely with a triple against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning on May 4, 2014 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) By David Banks
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Randal Grichuk #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides safely with a triple against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning on May 4, 2014 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) By David Banks CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Randal Grichuk #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides safely with a triple against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning on May 4, 2014 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) By David Banks

(BaseballStL) - As of this moment, it really looks like the Cardinals are going to be headed to Los Angeles for Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS in a couple weeks.  The Cards are a healthy 2.5 games up on the Pirates for 1st place in the NL Central (meaning if they go just 5-4 in the remaining 9 games – highly conservative – Pittsburgh would have to go 8-2 to catch them).

Likewise, the Dodgers are 2.5 games up on the Redbirds but just a game back of the Nationals for best record in the National League.  With just over a week to go in the regular season, the odds of the Cardinals catching LA looks bleak.  That’s especially true given the fact the Dodgers lead the season series 4-3 so any tiebreaker would go to them.

The Dodgers could catch the Nats but Washington’s schedule features 9 games remaining of which 6 are against the Marlins who just shut down Giancarlo Stanton.

The moral of the story is it’s likely Washington will be the so-called #1 seed, Los Angeles the 2-seed and the Cardinals the 3. 

If that happens, the Cardinals will face Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLDS in LA.  That’s a tough task for any team.  And given the way Mike Matheny has been using his roster of late – rightfully so – you’re seeing an awful lot of Randal Grichuk against left-handed starters.

You could also see him in a primetime role starting for the Cards against Kershaw in the playoffs.  It makes sense.  Since being recalled August 26, Grichuk is hitting .333 with a .351 and a healthy .740 OPS.  The vast majority of the hits are singles (just 2 of his 12 hits since coming back up have been for extra bases) but he’s still hitting the ball extremely hard.

 The former #1 pick has also been a weapon against lefties as well.

 For someone who began the year at AAA-Memphis that’s quite a testament to his hard work.  He hit just .136 in 44 ABs in his first trial with the big league club and looked a little overmatched at times.  But his confidence never wavered and returned to the team as a different player. 

Oscar Taveras might get a fair amount of starts in right field but he’s hitting just .238 against lefties this season so it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he didn’t crack the starting lineup against a Kershaw led Dodgers team in October.

Peter Bourjos is a possibility.  He’s 4-11 lifetime against Kershaw with a home run.  Matheny likes to play the numbers and there’s certainly a chance he could choose to go that direction.

But Grichuk offers a power potential – specifically against lefties – that no one else on the team provides.  Scoring runs against someone like Clayton Kershaw could be a major challenge and there is a very legitimate possibility he’d play that card instead of Bourjos or Taveras.

There’s a wide range of opinions as to what type of player Randal Grichuk will be in the future with the Cardinals.  Is he a bench player or an everyday player?  Is he an average regular or a plus one? 

Those questions won’t get answered today or tomorrow.  But he just might get a chance to make a name for himself in October against the greatest pitcher on the planet.

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