Cardinals: Paul Goldschmidt is playing his best baseball at the right time
Paul Goldschmidt is on an absolute tear, but if the St. Louis Cardinals want to make the playoffs, they need Nolan Arenado to get hot too.
In a season filled with offensive inconsistency, and a lineup that has failed to live up to expectations, Paul Goldschmidt has been a stabilizing force for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Goldschmidt, 33, is hitting .287/.355/.493 with 24 home runs and 82 RBI in 501 at-bats this season. His numbers, for the most part, have been better than Nolan Arenado’s. But Goldschmidt has saved his best work for the second half of the season, hitting .333/.396/.618 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI in 42 games, and is a large reason why the Cardinals remain in the playoff hunt despite the offensive struggles and a plethora of injuries to the starting rotation.
That held especially true in a series against the Cincinnati Reds, who are ahead of the Cardinals for the No. 2 spot in the NL wild card race. He hit three home runs in the first two games of the series, both Cardinals wins, and is now hitting .391/.481/.957 in his last seven days.
When Goldschmidt is this hot, he’s capable of carrying teams. If Arenado is able to get hot at the same time, when he is capable of producing numbers that exceed Goldschmidt’s, it would make the Cardinals one of the toughest teams to beat to end the regular season and potentially in the playoffs.
“Goldy just makes the guys around him better,” manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including MLB.com.
That, at least through the first 130 games of the season, has not been the case. Not as the Cardinals lineup continues to underperform, which has been the story throughout the season. But they remain only 2.5 games back of the Reds in the wild card, with the San Diego Padres trailing by 0.5 games while the Philadelphia Phillies are tied with the Cardinals.
With Goldschmidt surging, the Cardinals are 6-4 in their last 10 games. Tommy Edman has provided a strong complement in the lineup and defensively at second base. But to eventually catch the Reds, and potentially pass them, the Cardinals will need Arenado to heat up.
Goldschmidt simply can’t do it by himself. But he’s sure trying his hardest.