Coming into this season it was expected that the Cardinals were going to have a very good and deep lineup that would score a lot of runs. When it comes to runs per game, the Cardinals are averaging 4.54 runs a game which is around league average, what is holding them back from scoring more runs? The Cardinals have not been able to score runs when they load the bases.
With just two weeks left in the 2023 regular season, the Cardinals currently rank last in baseball as they have stranded 7.31 runners on base a game on average, including 3.66 runners left in scoring position. The opportunities have been there, the Cardinals just simply haven't been able to take advantage enough.
Looking specifically at the Cardinals' numbers with the bases loaded, it has been very disappointing. First off the Cardinals have loaded the bases at least once in 67 games which is tied for 10th in the league so they have been getting more chances to hit with the bases full than most teams. In 123 at-bats with the bases loaded ( 6th most in baseball) they only have 24 hits which equates to a .195 average, only the Oakland A's are worse.
The Cardinals also only have 70 RBI with the bases loaded which is the 5th worst in baseball. To put it in some perspective they had 61 RBI with the bases loaded in the shortened 2020 season in 26 games which was the best that season. There is other stats that say that the Cardinal hitters have been very undisciplined when they are hitting with the bases loaded. They have only drawn 6 bases-loaded walks this year which is tied for the 2nd fewest in the league and the worst on-base percentage with the bases loaded ( .228 OBP). It has also been a problem putting the ball in play as the Cardinals are tied for the 5th most strikeouts with the bases loaded, and all together hitters have struck out in 28.7% of their at-bats in a situation where putting the ball in play is paramount.
The last time the Cardinals were at the bottom in the league on average with the bases loaded was in 2000 when they hit .220 despite being a top 10 offense that year ( 5.48 runs per game 8th in MLB). Since 1950, never in the history of the St.Louis Cardinals have they gone a season batting under .200 with the bases loaded before and they are in danger of doing just that here in 2023. For most of this season, the Cardinals have had around half of their runs scored off of home runs, when the home run hasn't been there it's been difficult to try and manufacture runs. Pitchers tend to focus on locating their pitches a little more when there are runners on base because one mistake with location can swing a game. Sometimes you have to just take what the opponent gives you and hit to the situation, the Cardinals haven't been able to do that this season.
With the regular season almost coming to a close, obviously, the main focus is, and should be, revolved around pitching and looking to improve that for next year. But with how bad this season has gone it should force the team to look at every aspect as to why it went so wrong and strive to correct those issues in 2024. This year could be a fluke when it comes to something like the lack of hitting with the bases loaded, but Cardinal fans surely will be hoping for some more clutch hitting next season.