By Josh Mosley
If there was one thing not lacking with the 2008 St. Louis Cardinals, it was offense. As a team they batted .281 last year. And with shocking offense from guys like Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel, it seemed like St. Louis finally didn’t have to live and die on the untainted bat of Albert Pujols. (If a positive test for A-Rod shows up, then one will pop up for Pujols if there is one, Mr. Paschen.) And with a couple of key additions that could easily make a big dent or a be about as hurtful as an anorexic jumping on a car hood, the Cardinals offense could be as big a bag of tricks as the pitching staff. Let’s check them out.
Skip Schumaker: You know how USC sometimes has an abundance of talent at certain positions? To the point where some of them have to transfer to other schools to play? Yeah, the Cards had the opposite of that when it came to second base. Thus, you have Skip at second base. But for what it’s worth, the guy can knock the ball around as someone who will hit for average. He might be the most consistent bat that STL has had at second base in a long time.
Khalil Greene:While his first name sounds like Superman’s given alien name Kal-El (NERD ALERT), Greene’s offense was anything heroic in 2008, as he batted .217 for the Padres last season. Maybe the change of scenery will help him return to the form where he jacked 27 home runs in 2007. Or maybe he’ll fail miserably. Like Kevin Garnett, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!
Albert Pujols:Not sure what I can say about this guy. Won MVP last year. Best hitter in baseball for now until otherwise noted. Oh yeah, I got something: when Cards fans aren’t hoping that our economy shapes the hell up, they’ll be praying that Pujols’ surgically repaired elbow. God save St. Louis if that blasted tendon snaps again.
Yadier Molina:It’s already been noted that running Yadi Molina can be about as calculated a risk as wearing white after Labor Day. I mean honestly, who ACTUALLY dares to do that??? But now, Molina has shaped up his hitting game, batting a career-high .304 in 2008 despite throwing out a career-low of 35 percent from behind the plate.
David Freese:The stars could be aligning for Freese, a homegrown St. Louis boy, to step in at third for Troy Glaus and just take the majors by storm. Note the sarcasm in my writers voice and you’ll understand that the jury is indeed still out on this guy. As much as Tony La Russa LOVES playing young bucks (again sarcasm) you have to think he saw something in Freese that made him peg him as the starter. Now if we can just figure out what that something was.
Ryan Ludwick:So this guy kind of came out of nowhere last year, right? Well 37 home runs and 113 RBI’s can feel that way. And although Ludwick is technically in his eight season in the league, any drop off this year would have to be deemed a sophomore slump. He’s the Cards next best bet for a clutch hit outside of Pujols so his numbers are going to have to drop. But if they don’t drop off the face of the earth, that can be considered a moral victory.
Rick Ankiel:The first full season of the Ankiel experiment in the outfield was a moderate success. He had more than a few Web Gem catches while also hitting for equal parts power and average. But like his predecessor in center, one James Edmonds, the strikeouts were a little high. He went down on K’s one out of every four times he was at bat. The object of the game is to hit the ball, Rick. Just keep that in mind, playboy.
Chris Duncan:Not a lot of clock for Mr. Duncan last season. However, he’s back to full strength this season and looking to reassert himself as a dangerous hitter and the team leader in amount of tobacco he can stick in his jaw at one time. Seriously, it’s remarkable.
Well that’s it for the Cards. Let’s see what they do.