When discussing players who were snubbed from the 2014 MLB All-Star game, St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman Matt Adams has to be one of the first names mentioned.
Adams, aka “Big City”, has been having a great year for the Cards, and that was never more evident than in last night’s 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It was a pitchers duel, to say the least, as neither the Cardinals or Pirates could a run across the plate for the first eight and a half innings. All-Star pitcher Adam Wainwright put in another great performance for the Cards, pitching seven innings, giving up just seven hits and no earned runs. Pirates’ starer Charlie Morton was just as good, though, as he only gave up an astonishing one hit through seven innings.
Blame much of that on the Cardinals’ inability to find offense as of late, but without a doubt, Morton pitched a good game.
St. Louis reliever Sam Freeman got himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, and Tony Watson got Oscar Taveras to line-out to right, which allowed the Pirates to double-up Jon Jay trying to get back to second in their half of the inning. Another Cardinals’ All-Star, setup man Pat Neshek, got the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, which allowed him to eventually get the win. It was Adams, and his big bat though, that delivered Neshek his third win of the season.
Matt Carpenter, yet another Cards’ All-Star, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk on Pittsburgh’s Justin Wilson, followed by Matt Holliday flying out to right field. That brought up Adams with one out and one on, and the game on the line. The Cardinals could barely find any offense to speak of on Monday night, but none of that mattered two pitches in to “Big City’s” at-bat. Wilson threw an 81-mile per hour curveball that didn’t fool Adams one bit, and that ball was launched into the right field stands for a no-doubt, walk-off game winner.
It was a huge boost for the Cardinals when they needed it the most. Not only was it the spark of offense that had been missing for eight innings, but it brought about a huge win for St. Louis. We may be before the All-Star break, but this was meaningful.
After a tough road trip that saw the Cardinals break even, St. Louis came back home only to lose a series to the Miami Marlins two games to one. In fact, the loss on Sunday to Miami dropped St. Louis to third in the NL Central, while bumping Pittsburgh up to second.
Adams’ big walk-off home run put the Cardinals back into second place with six games before the break. The last three games in that stretch will be against the Milwaukee Brewers, who currently sit No. 1 in the division, four games ahead of St. Louis. Frankly, the importance of last night’s win can’t be understated.
It was a must-win.
Credit Adams for stepping up when his club needed it the most, but that’s something that has been a trend for him ever since he came back from a stint on the DL, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com:
The Cardinals have leaned heavily on Adams since he returned from the disabled list on June 13. Adams announced his comeback by homering in three straight games, all St. Louis wins. He has seven homers in 22 games (84 at-bats), only three fewer than the rest of the team has in the same span.
Adams, 8-for-12 on this homestand, has driven in 23 percent of the Cardinals’ runs since rejoining the lineup and finds himself as the new three-hole hitter. His slugging percentage, .474 when he landed on the DL, is .679 since being activated.
Those stats are incredible, and the improvements are more than noteworthy. Adams has been extremely important to the Cardinals since coming back from the DL, and he’s arguably been one of the best first baseman in the National League.
So why isn’t he an All-Star? Couldn’t the case be made that “Big City” has been just as important to the Cardinals as All-Stars Yadier Molina, Carpenter, Neshek and Wainwright?
Statistically, it would make sense. In fact, statistically speaking, Adams is right in line with both NL starter Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona, and Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman, the other first baseman selected.
Goldschmidt: 66 R, 106 H, 16 HR, 59 RBI, .313 AVG, .402 OBP, .558 SLG, .960 OPS
Freeman: 61 R, 102 H, 13 HR, 47 RBI, .299 AVG, .390 OBP, .507 SLG, .897 OPS
Adams: 29 R, 92 H, 10 HR, 36 RBI, .331 AVG, .344 OBP, .536 SLG, .880 OPS
Adams has a better slugging percentage and batting average than Freeman. He’s only three home runs off Freeman and six behind Goldschmidt, but here’s the kicker: He’s only played in 75 games. Goldschmidt has played in 90, while Freeman has been in 89. So, Adams has comparable numbers to Freeman in 14 less games. Knowing that plus understanding the important role he’s played for the Cardinals since coming off the DL, and the case could easily be made that Adams should be an All-Star.
The fact of the matter is, he got snubbed.
Having five All-Stars on the roster instead of four won’t give the Cardinals any extra wins in the good column, and at the end of the day, Adams’ value to this organization doesn’t change because he won’t be in Minneapolis on July 15th. He’s a spark-plug and a huge offensive weapon for a team that could use all the help it can get in that department in 2014.
Adams may not be an All-Star officially, but both on paper and in the hearts of anybody who has watched the Cardinals as of late; he’s certainly All-Star material.