St. Louis Cardinals: Takeaways From the Opening Series
Randal Grichuk was the hero at the plate for the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day, popping a two-run home run in the eighth inning to cushion his team’s lead, and delivering the walk-off single in the next inning.
Randal Grichuk will be the regular left fielder for the Cardinals this season after the departure of Matt Holliday. He got off to a hot start Sunday, hitting what turned out to be the only long ball of the series for St. Louis. He absolutely stung the final pitch of the night into the left-center-field gap for the game-winning hit.
However, on Tuesday, his ill-advised throw home on the Cubs’ first run of the night allowed Wilson Contreras to scamper from first to third base. That gave Chicago manager Joe Maddon the opportunity to call for the safety squeeze with Javier Baez at the plate, which led to another run.
Grichuk also had the opportunity to tie the game or give the Cardinals the lead in the sixth inning. His team down 2-1 with two outs, the bases loaded, and Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta on the ropes, Grichuk popped out on the infield to end the threat.
On Thursday, he struck out with two on and one out in the eighth inning with the Cardinals trailing by two. For the series, he went 3-for-12 with four runs batted in and four strikeouts.
Until he can improve his plate discipline and become a more reliable bat in run-producing scenarios, Grichuk probably won’t ascend higher than sixth in Matheny’s batting order. He hit eighth on Opening Day, seventh in game two, and sixth in game three.
The organization’s commitment to give Grichuk regular playing time through the ups and downs benefits the young left fielder. He’ll have his opportunity to reach ever higher to achieve his potential.