3 St. Louis Cardinals surprise second-half studs

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A fan of the St. Louis Cardinals holds up a sign reading "Albert Thank You!" after Albert Pujols hit a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 20, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A fan of the St. Louis Cardinals holds up a sign reading "Albert Thank You!" after Albert Pujols hit a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 20, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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St Louis Cardinals' Corey Dickerson swings
Corey Dickerson #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a single in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Cardinals second-half stud No. 3: Corey Dickerson

What Cardinals player has the most consecutive at-bats with a hit?  Nope, not Fernando Tatis Sr, Felix Jose, or Curt Flood, at least not any more.  Each of those three players went eight straight ABs with a hit – Flood doing so twice – but the new St. Louis player atop that leaderboard is Dickerson, who surpassed all of them by two hits, becoming only the 13th player in MLB history to record a hit in 10 straight at-bats.

Dickerson was expected to bring a veteran presence, an experienced bat to join Nootbaar in the outfield against righty starters or take on a bigger role in the even Nootbaar scuffled in his second season in the bigs.  Instead, Dickerson fell flat in the first few couple of months of his one-year, $5M contract, batting .180 with zero long balls, nine RBI, and nine runs scored through the end of May.

His bat showed signs of line in an extremely small nine-AB sample in June, when he recorded three hits – two of which were solo home runs.  Since getting more frequent playing time the last couple of months, Dickerson has hit a combined .370 with five home runs, 15 RBI, and 14 runs scored in an even 100 at-bats in the June-August period.

Virtually all of his damage has been done against right-handers, which was another part of the plan when bringing him into the Cardinals clubhouse.  He and Pujols were supposed to complement each other in the lineup depending on the handedness of the pitcher on the mound at any given time.  It took a while for both of them to find their groove, but now things are clicking like was hoped.

The future

Will these torrid streaks continue for these three hitters?  Who knows?  Player run hot and cold for no apparent reason sometimes, at least from the outside.  It certainly seems like something has been fixed, allowing them and the team to prosper, just like the front office drew it up before the season began.

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