The Cardinals are walking and running to success
Following a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, the St. Louis Cardinals (30-28) find themselves in the middle of a competitive National League Central. The formula the Cardinals’ offense employs is simple, yet effective. Put the ball in play, get on base, and create pressure on the defense.
In a baseball world that seems to be dominated by the three true outcomes (strikeout, walk, and home run), the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be playing a different game than most. The Redbirds trail only the Los Angeles Dodgers when it comes to avoiding the strikeout. Not only do they put pressure on opponents by putting the ball in play, but the intensity heats up once they reach base.
While they’re not the Cardinals of the Whitey-ball era of the 1980s, the 2019 version of the Redbirds are swiping bases at nearly a league-leading rate. St. Louis’ 33 stolen bases trail only Central division rival Milwaukee in the National League. One of the reasons the Cardinals are running so much is because they are constantly on base.
Their .332 team OBP is good enough for third among NL squads. A contributing factor has been the Cardinals patience at the plate. Walking 212 times, the Cardinals are well above the league average of a 196 free passes. It’s a good thing the Cardinals occupy the bases because it takes maximum effort for them to score.
The Cardinals .414 slugging percentage is slightly below league average, but it’s been the absence of the long ball that has been most surprising. You would think a lineup that features Paul Goldschmidt, Jedd Gyorko, and Matt Carpenter would be sending shots toward the Arch on a nightly basis. However, their 74 homers ranks 11th in the league.