Paul Goldschmidt has been the unluckiest hitter in baseball in 2021 but his luck began to turn at the end of the first half.
The duo of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt was expected to take the St. Louis Cardinals’ offense to new levels in 2021, perhaps even making it a top 5 unit in baseball. But while Arenado has been very good to start the season, Goldschmidt struggled through the vast majority of games.
Goldschmidt turned it on in the last couple weeks of the first half of the season, however, and could be primed to break out in the second half — which could go a long way toward the Cardinals overcoming their seven-game deficit in the National League Central.
On the season, Goldschmidt is hitting .265/.335/.432 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI. He hit .391/.500/.565 in the last seven days while hitting .333/.414/.510 in the last 14 days, looking much more like the player the Cardinals had grown accustomed to after acquiring him from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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Having Goldschmidt turn back into that type of player could completely transform their season. It would give them a second elite hitter alongside Arenado, putting pressure on opposing pitching staffs to pitch to both, or force teams to give hittable pitches to other players on the roster like Yadier Molina, Tommy Edman or Harrison Bader, who has had success hitting off speed pitches since returning from injury.
But teams are forced to pitch to at least one of Goldschmidt or Arenado — you can’t pitch around both — and having Goldschmidt performing at an elite level would do wonders for a lineup that has struggled with inconsistencies throughout the first 90 games. It would also take pressure off a rotation that is missing 60 percent of its regular starters.
Having Goldschmidt play at an elite level would mean everything for a Cardinals team that needs a spark. And if he carries over that success to the second half, it may not be long until they catch up to the Milwaukee Brewers.