St. Louis Cardinals: Ranking the top Cardinal “killers” from the 21st century

Kyle Jasper
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08: Left fielder Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals is congratulated by shortstop Jedd Gyorko #3 after scoring in the fourth inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 8, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08: Left fielder Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals is congratulated by shortstop Jedd Gyorko #3 after scoring in the fourth inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 8, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /
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6. Jedd Gyorko:  181 wRC+

Here comes one player you may not have expected. Fan-favorite Jedd Gyorko comes in on this list as the 6th biggest Cardinals killer in terms of wRC+. Jedd was a very respectable infielder for the Padres and just so happened to have really performed well against St. Louis.

From 2013 to 2015 with the Padres, Gyorko posted a line of .342/.400/.589 against the Cardinals. His success against St. Louis was pretty much evenly spread out among the three seasons with San Diego. For counting stats purposes, 2014 was his most successful career versus the Redbirds. Gyorko hit three homers and drove in 12 in only seven games. He was eventually traded to St. Louis for Jon Jay as I am sure Mozielak was just tired of seeing him kill the Cardinals and would rather have him on our side.

In his inaugural year for St. Louis, he actually started the season as the starting shortstop as Jhonny Peralta was out with an injury. Jedd absolutely was a fan favorite and was a great role player that was always willing to move around the diamond.

T4. Ryan Howard: 184 wRC+

St. Louis native, Ryan Howard, was by far the biggest Cardinal killer that I can personally remember growing up a Cardinals fan. Every single time that big lefty came up, it always seemed like he was driving balls gap to gap and always finding ways around the shift the Cardinals attempted to put on him.

The respect Ryan Howard had from all of Cardinals fans was unlike any other and when he went down with his Achilles injury in the final game of the 2011 NLDS it was a bittersweet moment. You loved that the Cardinals were moving on but you hated seeing one of the best to do it go down with an injury like that.

Of all the players on this list, Howard leads this group in plate appearances against the Cardinals this century with 300. For his career against St. Louis, Ryan Howard posted splits of .331/.433/.649 and his best year against St. Louis was in 2008 where he posted splits of .452/.575/1.065 in 40 plate appearances.

Having an OPS over 1.600 in a single season versus a single opponent is one of the most incredible things I believe I have ever seen.  Ryan Howard was a staple in MVP conversations for many years and enjoyed a very good career where he saw loads of success, especially against our Cardinals.

T4. Manny Machado: 184 wRC+

One of the better players in today’s baseball comes in tied with Ryan Howard at number four. While Howard might leave a more lasting impression against St. Louis, Manny Machado has done plenty to secure his name as a feared hitter while playing anywhere.

Machado, in his career against the Cardinals, has a slash line of .325/.386/.714. What’s even more impressive is that whenever the Cardinals attempt to throw a left-handed pitcher at Machado, his slash line jumps to .571/.625/.929. I am no expert, but I would suggest whatever plan they have for Machado in the future, particularly late in games, I would suggest it involve a heavy dose of right-handed pitching.

Manny Machado is an elite baseball player and may even be a better fielder than he is a hitter. Nevertheless, the St. Louis Cardinals should be extra mindful of pitching to Machado in the coming seasons due to his history of destroying them.

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