At the time, it felt like more than just a home run but rather a moment–the Aledmys Diaz shot off the foul pole in left field to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants last Saturday.
But there had been moments before, moments that the team failed to build upon the next day with another win to increase the momentum. However, that has not been the case since the Diaz home run as the Cardinals have won five games in a row and seven of their last eight.
Following Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh–which gave St. Louis their first sweep at PNC Park since 2009, Mike Matheny gave a lot of credit to the rotation, which in particular over the last turn has been much better.
Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Mike Leake all went at least 6.0 innings and allowed no more than 2 earned runs in their last start.
And while there is no question the team will continue to need similar starts to remain on their upward trend, the offense has really been producing at a remarkable rate as the Cardinals have outscored their opponents 56-30 during this eight game stretch.
The old adage “it starts at the top” holds true as Matt Carpenter has raised his batting average thirty points to .285 since returning from paternity leave. But even with Carp out of the lineup the last couple of days due to a sprained middle finger, the team has continued to produce.
During the last eight games, Matt Adams has hit .346 (9-26) with a pair of home runs and 7 RBIs.
Leading the team with 14 HRs on the season, Brandon Moss went 5-13 against Pittsburgh and has 8 RBIs in his last 7 games.
Since snapping his 0-21 streak, Yadier Molina has hit .400 (10-25) over his last 7 games.
And since being activated from the disabled list, Jhonny Peralta has hit .333 (8-24) with a home run and 7 RBIs.
Yes, it’s only an eight game stretch–the proverbial small sample size.
But for a team that was hovering around the .500 mark, it’s finally a sign of gaining the traction expected for the season.
photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports