Hail the St. Louis Cardinals killers: Yelich, Posey and…Schebler?
Christian Yelich has crushed the St. Louis Cardinals this year, hitting a ridiculous .500 with eight homers and 19 RBIs in just seven games! Who does he think he is? Scott Schebler?
OK, so Christian Yelich is way better than Scott Schebler, a Reds outfielder with a .244 career batting average and a .772 OPS through Thursday, in the same way Giancarlo Stanton is better than Daniel Descalso. But the two have one thing in common. Both Yelich and Schebler devour St. Louis Cardinals pitching.
Yelich is a .298 career hitter with an .848 OPS against all major league teams, but he’s a .331 hitter with a 1.120 OPS in 44 career games against the Cardinals. The middling Schebler turns monster vs. St. Louis, batting .341 with a 1.078 OPS in 43 games — 36 starts — against the Redbirds.
Here is a position-by-position look at these and other NL batters who annihilate the Cardinals:
Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, Giants
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .385 BA, .967 OPS
A two-time Silver Slugger winner, Madison Bumgarner has slammed 18 career homers, six more than any other active pitcher, but none against the Cardinals. On the other hand, his .385 batting average against St. Louis is .200 points better than his overall average of .185, and his best against anyone.
Bumgarner is 10 for 26 with a pair of walks in 12 games against St. Louis. His regular OPS is .548, but against the Cardinals it soars to .967. He even collected a pinch hit, his first ever, against the Cardinals on Aug. 18, 2015.
Catcher: Buster Posey, Giants
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .342 BA, .898 OPS
Buster Posey torments nearly every NL team with one exception — he’s just a .222 hitter with a .656 OPS in 55 games against the Cubs. Against the Cardinals, Posey tops his .305 career batting average and .836 OPS. Meanwhile the Braves’ Tyler Flowers, a .240 career hitter with a .710 OPS, has been a pest in 40 at-bats against the Cardinals.
Flowers has batted just .250 against St. Louis but his slugging percentage is .525, a healthy leap from his career percentage of .391., and his OPS is .892 (his career OPS is .710).
First baseman: Freddie Freeman, Braves
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .312 BA, .994 OPS
None of the NL’s slugging first sackers, a list that includes Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, and Paul Goldschmidt during his Diamondbacks days, have hammered the Cardinals like Freddie Freeman, a career .293 hitter with an .876 OPS.
A more surprising nuisance is Mark Reynolds, the 2015 Cardinal who has played with eight major-league teams. A low-average (.238 career), high-strikeout (led the league in Ks from 2008 to 2011) swinger, Reynolds is batting .275 vs. the Cardinals with an OPS of .871 (his overall OPS is .785).
Second baseman: Adam Frazier, Pirates
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .322 BA, .912 OPS
When it comes to hitting the Cardinals, this second baseman-outfielder is no Daniel Murphy, D.J. LeMahieu, or Scooter Gennett — he’s better. Adam Frazier (.280/.767 career) would be an All-Star if he hit against the Cardinals and Brewers every day. He has 22 RBIs vs. St. Louis, 19 RBI (with a .930 OPS) vs. Milwaukee, and no more than nine RBI vs. any other team.
You might remember the Reds’ Gennett going 5-for-5 with four homers and 10 RBI against the Cardinals on June 6, 2017, but the long-time second baseman (he was playing left field that day) has a .747 OPS vs. the Cards, which is lower than his career OPS of .787.
Third baseman: Manny Machado, Padres
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .349 BA, 1.101 OPS
All Manny Machado has done is smack six homers with 17 RBI in 16 games against St. Louis, beginning in his Orioles days. Jung Ho Kang of the Pirates (career .265 BA, .818 OPS) also bashes the Cardinals (.302 BA, .961 OPS). St. Louis has had remarkable success against the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, a .283/.893 career hitter who has hit just .243/.752 against the Cardinals.
Shortstop: Andrelton Simmons, Angels
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .369 BA, .880 OPS
Surprised? Celebrated for his four Gold Gloves, Andrelton Simmons is just a .268 career hitter with a .697 OPS, but he cranks it up against the Cardinals.
He had one hit for the Braves in the one-and-done playoff game vs. St. Louis on Oct. 5, 2012, but he might have had two if not for umpire Sam Holbrook’s controversial infield-fly call. If you recall, Simmons lofted a fly ball that dropped between shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday with two Braves in scoring position in the eighth inning of a game the Cardinals won 6-3.
Fans should get a look at the fine-fielding shortstop and a fellow named Pujols when the Angels come to town for a three-day series beginning June 21.
Left field: Curtis Granderson, Marlins
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .304 BA, .899 OPS
During the regular season, the Cardinals have a hard time getting Curtis Granderson, who has a career .251 BA and .809 OPS, out.
The well-traveled vet has an OK .339 career on-base percentage that zooms to .403 vs. St. Louis. On the flip side, the then-Tiger Granderson hit just .095 (2 for 21) with seven strikeouts against the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, which St. Louis won four games to one. The Braves’ Adam Duvall (.230 BA/.744 OPS) also likes to bat (.296 BA/.866 OPS) against the Cardinals.
Center Field: Odubel Herrera, Phillies,
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .375 BA, 1.004 OPS
Bryce Harper will get the pregame headlines when the Phillies arrive for a three-game series on May 6 but fans should be just as concerned about Odubel Herrera, who has driven in 22 runs in just 24 starts against the Cardinals.
He’s the rare player who can top Harper’s outstanding stats (.311/.990) vs. St. Louis, although the Cardinals did manage to halt Herrera’s 45-game on-base streak on May 20th of last year. The Padres’ Manuel Margot (.256/.701) has hit .358 with a .913 OPS in 16 games against St. Louis.
Right Field: Christian Yelich, Brewers
Career vs St. Louis Cardinals: .331 BA, 1.120 OPS
It’s no shock that an MVP slugger is putting up big numbers against anyone, but those are really big numbers. Yelich has 17 home runs and 48 RBI in 43 games against St. Louis, which would project to 64 homers and 181 RBI over a 162-game season.
That said, his OPS against the Cardinals is just slightly higher than Scott Schebler’s 1.079 OPS in 43 games vs. the Redbirds. Schebler’s second-ever home run for the Reds on Aug. 2, 2016 was a three-run walk-off blast against — you guessed it — the St. Louis Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals have seen plenty of sore thumbs have success against them, and they have seen superstars strutting their stuff. Being aware of these guys who are Cardinals killers, no matter their pedigree, is integral for this team’s success.