During a cut-in at the start of the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday night, field reporter Jim Hayes came on air on the FOX Sports Midwest St. Louis Cardinals broadcast to share the details of his conversation earlier in the day with Randal Grichuk.
The subject is an ongoing bet between the outfielder and his teammate, second baseman Kolten Wong.
The competition – which player will hit the most home runs over the course of the year – is now in its second season. Wong asked Grichuk for a rematch after losing, 11 to 17, in 2015. Neither player would comment on what is at stake, reported Hayes.
Both players struggled through the first month this season – Wong even more so than Grichuk. In fact, through his first 68 plate appearances of 2016, the second baseman did not have even one extra-base hit, let alone a home run. In his 69th plate appearance during Monday night’s seventh inning, Wong finally connected for a long ball to right field.
That put him very temporarily just two home runs behind Grichuk – because the outfielder went deep himself for the fourth time in 2016 in the very next at-bat.
I get that it is just a fun wager between two friends, but should Wong’s mindset at the plate all season long really be to try to hit more home runs than a true power threat in Grichuk?
Wouldn’t it be better for Wong to put all of his efforts behind becoming a viable table-setter? After all, it was he who told the world and his manager during the off-season that he has what it takes to be the Cardinals’ leadoff man.
Through Monday night, the want-to-be top-of-the-order threat has just a .304 on base mark – based on 13 singles, five walks and that lone extra-base hit. Wong has the same strikeout total, 14, as he does hits.
Maybe I am off base here, but it seems to me that trying to out-homer Grichuk isn’t likely to get Wong to the top of the batting order any time soon. In fact, it help may put him on the bench more frequently unless he can get himself going.
Kolten, just be satisfied with being yourself, ok?
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