Cardinals pitchers are paid to focus on pitching and fielding, but it might help the team’s 2013 postseason chances if they could improve their hitting.
_ Jaime Garcia was the 2012 Cardinals hits leader among pitchers, with 10. That’s the fewest hits for the leader among pitchers since Matt Morris also had a team-high 10 in 2001.
_ Adam Wainwright was the 2012 Cardinals RBI leader among pitchers, with 4. That’s the fewest RBI for the leader among pitchers since Morris and Woody Williams each had a team-high 3 in 2002.
_ Cardinals pitchers collected a total of 13 RBI in 2012. That’s the fewest since the 1988 Cardinals staff also accounted for 13 RBI. (John Tudor, Danny Cox and Greg Mathews had no RBI in 92 combined at-bats for the 1988 Cardinals.)
Only five pitchers on the 2012 Cardinals produced RBI: Wainwright (4), Garcia (3), Kyle Lohse (3), Joe Kelly (2) and Lance Lynn (1). Lohse has departed.
Among pitchers with at least 30 at-bats, Garcia was the top hitter on the 2012 Cardinals, with a .250 batting average (10-for-40), including a home run, a triple and a double.
(The home run, a solo shot off the Reds’ Bronson Arroyo, occurred on Oct. 1, in Garcia’s last regular-season appearance. It was Garcia’s first RBI since April 18. His shot just inside the right-field foul pole at Busch Stadium III ignited a three-run inning. It was Garcia’s fifth hit in five career at-bats versus Arroyo. “He’s a really good pitcher,” Garcia explained to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He made a mistake and I put a good swing on the ball.” Boxscore)
Among the reasons for the low hitting production of the 2012 Cardinals pitchers may be that Garcia was limited to 20 games because of injuries and Wainwright was feeling his way after sitting out the 2011 season.
In a four-year period (2007-2010), Wainwright had contributed 64 hits, including 15 doubles and 4 home runs, and 22 RBI.
(Wainwright’s lone 2012 home run was a 400-foot solo shot against the Mets’ R.A. Dickey, the National League Cy Young Award winner. Wainwright hit a knuckleball on an 0-and-2 count while conversing with home plate umpire Cory Blaser about his strike zone. “I was still talking to the umpire as (Dickey) was delivering the ball,” Wainwright said to the Post-Dispatch. “It might have helped me because I didn’t have time to think about what I was trying to do or what he was trying to do. I just saw it and hit it.” Boxscore)
Wainwright and Garcia may be the Cardinals’ best bets to win a Silver Slugger Award, which has been given annually since 1980 to the best hitter at each position in the National League and the American League. The award is determined by managers and coaches.
Only two Cardinals pitchers have won the award. They are:
_ Bob Forsch, 1980, .295 batting average, 23 hits, 3 home runs, 10 RBI.
_ Bob Forsch, 1987, .298 batting average, 17 hits, 2 home runs, 8 RBI.
_ Jason Marquis, 2005, .310 batting average, 27 hits, 1 home run, 10 RBI.
Forsch, Marquis and Bob Gibson are among the Cardinals’ top-hitting pitchers of the last 50 years. Their career hitting totals as Cardinals:
_ Bob Gibson, 17 years (1959-75), .206 batting average, 24 homers, 144 RBI.
_ Bob Forsch, 15 years (1974-88), .215 batting average, 12 homers, 79 RBI.
_ Jason Marquis, 3 years (2004-06), .262 batting average, 1 homer, 24 RBI.