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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals number six spot not producing

The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t getting many RBI from the sixth spot in their batting order.

Yadier Molina (AP/Tom Gannam)Most St. Louis Cardinals fans are aware the club’s offense has yet to achieve its desired consistency in 2010. While the potential explanations will vary depending on to whom you talk, the bottom line is that the club has scored just 82 runs in 19 games, 12th in the 16-team National League.

The big four in the lineup, Ryan Ludwick at number two followed by Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, then Colby Rasmus at number five, receive a lot of the attention for good reason. Though none has been hitting on all cylinders the entire time, there has been enough production from them to back up the strong pitching and the Cardinals to win 12 of their first 19 games. This is the case despite catalysts Skip Schumaker and Brendan Ryan not getting on base as frequently as expected.

Following the big four hitters has been an offensive black hole – the number six spot.

Until Yadier Molina’s game-winning eighth-inning double Monday night (pictured), the number six hole had produced only three RBI all season, just one ahead of the pitcher’s spot for the least productive in the Cardinals lineup.

2010 Cardinals, RBI by batting order position, through 19 games

Lineup RBI Plays Details (# RBI)
1st 7 2 Lopez HR(4), Schumaker HR(3)
2nd 6 4 Ludwick 3 HR(5) & triple
3rd 18 12 Pujols 7 HR(12)/4 1B(5), gr out
4th 8 5 Holliday 4 HR(6)/1 2B(2)
5th 12 9 Rasmus 6 HR(9)/2 1B(2), Molina 1B
6th 4 4 Ludwick 2 1B(2), Molina 1B(1)/2B(1)
7th 9 4 Molina 2 HR(7)/SF, Freese SF
8th 10 8 Freese 4 1B(4), Stavinoha HR(2), Ryan 2B(1)/3B(1)/BB(1)
9th 3 3 Carpenter gr out, Lohse 1B, Anderson 2B

(Thanks to statistician Tom Orf for the above table.)

Further, note that despite the fact that Ludwick has only started three games in the number six spot, he still has half of the RBIs generated from that place in the Cardinals lineup this season.

The problems are shared by many.

Games started, number six spot, 2010 Cardinals, through 19 games

Player Starts RBI
Yadier Molina 5 2
Felipe Lopez 5 0
David Freese 5 0
Ryan Ludwick 3 2
Colby Rasmus 1 0

Bonus coverage: Pinch-hitters not driving in runs, either

While Nick Stavinoha’s game-winning pinch-hit two-run home run back on April 9 in Milwaukee endeared the outfielder to fans, that has pretty much been it for the club this season. Orf points out that Bryan Anderson’s Monday night double was only the Cardinals’ second pinch hit of the season that actually plated a run.

Overall in 2010, St. Louis pinch-hitters are 6-for-25 (.240).

2010 Cardinals, pinch-hitting, through 19 games

PH Average AB H RBI
Anderson 0.333 3 1 1
Craig 0.000 2 0 0
Jay 0.000 1 0 0
Lopez 0.250 4 1 0
Ludwick 0.000 1 0 0
Mather 0.333 3 1 0
Rasmus 0.000 1 0 0
Stavinoha 0.300 10 3 2
Total 0.240 25 6 3

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