NUMBER THREE: Two-headed Monster
You wouldn’t be surprised to know that the St. Louis Cardinals play well when Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado get hits. However, you might be interested in finding out how rarely the two MVP candidates perform their best on the same day. This brings us to our third key statistic.
There have been 49 games this season where Paul Goldschmidt records multiple hits, and 46 games where Nolan Arenado records multiple hits. In those games, the St. Louis Cardinals are:
35-14 when Goldy has multiple hits; 52-48 when Goldy has one hit or less
34-12 when Arenado has multiple hits; 52-49 when Arenado has one hit or less
13-2 when both Goldy and Arenado have multiple hits
The records are remarkably similar– Goldy has 49 multi-hit games this season, Arenado has 46. Yet somehow, only 15 of the games have overlapped!
Clearly, a multi-hit game from just one of the two sluggers increases the Cardinals’ chances of winning. But only 15 games where they both have two or more hits? That feels awfully low. The good news is three of those overlapping games came against a potential wildcard opponent, the Philadelphia Phillies
The backdrop for this section is the historic seasons of these two teammates. The last time two players from the same team finished first and second in MVP voting was in 2000, when Barry Bonds finished 2nd to Jeff Kent. It’s truly special the two-headed monster in the middle of the Cardinal lineup.
There’s a lot more to unpack here, but the numbers show three basic, yet, crucial lessons: first, the Cardinals usually win when both of their stars produce. Second, the Cardinals cannot rely solely on their stars to win. Third, and maybe most important, Goldschmidt and Arenado hit fairly well against the Phillies.