The 2017 season hasn’t gone exactly as Randal Grichuk has planned, but the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder did reach one of designated markers over the weekend. His 4th inning blast yesterday was his 20th homerun of the season.
“It looks good, feels good, no other numbers are where I want them to be so for that one to at least be there, I’m happy with it and hopefully it will continue to go up,” said Grichuk, who also passed the mark last season, hitting 24 homers in 446 at-bats.
This season he’s at 378 ABs. He’s also driven in an RBI in each of the last three games, drawing to within 14 of last year’s total of 68.
Everything else includes his defense, which has been strong bouncing between left and right field. In the top half of that same 4th inning, his sliding play on a liner into the gap to hold Andrew McCutchen to only a single is just one example of the plus defense he’s turning in.
“It felt good considering there was one out and to be able to keep him at first,” said Grichuk. “Obviously, Wacha struck the next two guys out but it allows that double play to be in order or him to not have to worry about a guy on second base scoring. If it helps him get those strikeouts then that’s all we’re trying to do out there.”
So which play did he feel better about–the defense or the 20th homerun?
“I’ll do the homerun,” answered Grichuk. “Only because they were playing that shift over big time and I was really trying to tell myself, starting yesterday with that pinch-hit, to try and see the ball and drive it the opposite way. It’s the only at-bat I did it on, but yeah, that one felt better just because I consciously was trying to do that in my at-bats.”
Grichuk is second on the Cardinals with 46 extra base hits. He has four home runs and seven RBIs in his last 10 games–part of a Cardinals offense that averaged 5.7 runs per game in that stretch.
“We all know, it’s coming down to the wire,” said Grichuk. “We keep seeing the Cubs losing and it’s giving us more and more confidence that this division is up for grabs. We control our own destiny.”
photo credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports