Any time a theme park ride closes down, the people waiting in line get mad and depressed. What it would have been like to ride that thing? Right now, across a hot St. Louis, St. Louis Cardinals fans are disheartened by the idea of the Randal Grichuk experience being closed until September. The talented 25 year old rookie of the year candidate is going on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. The complete severity of the injury is unknown, but the warning signs are enough for the team to act quickly after the MRI this morning. Should the fans freak out?
The answer is no. Grichuk, while impressive and durable with the bat, wasn’t powering this offense singlehandedly. This moderate attack doesn’t operate on one boom stick anymore. Grichuk was essentially a sniper in a band of versatile weapons that scratch out just enough runs to help out the best pitching staff in baseball. They still have Stephen Piscotty and Jason Heyward out there(who combined for three home runs Sunday), and Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta have handled business this month.
Grichuk’s power will be missed. The kind of pop that can turn a silent Friday game into a quick Cardinals lead like he did with a 2 run home run against the Marlins. A bat that had grown more lethal over the course of the season. One that accumulated 43 extra base hits(21 doubles, 7 triples, 15 home runs) and a .561 slugging percentage. Sure, he had 97 strikeouts(at least 3 multi-K games every ten game set) but he was drawing more walks as the weeks passed by. Grichuk’s lethal ability to crank baseball 100 mph was only improving so the spectacle will be missed.
What happens next? Tommy Pham will come up, be inserted into the roster and have another chance to showcase his skills. Brandon Moss isn’t going to improve sitting on the bench, so the loss of Grichuk gives him renewed time in left field. Jason Heyward, by the looks of today’s lineup, will get some time in center field while Stephen Piscotty moves to a place he is most comfortable at and that’s right field. The next man up mentality will persevere here.
Why should fans not worry? Remember that great pitching. The pitching that the Cards have built their success on this year didn’t lose an arm today. The starters may have lost some run support with the Grichuk injury but the performance doesn’t expect to be diminished.
After all, look at the losses this lineup has faced this season. Matt Adams since late May. Matt Holliday, except for 10 games, since early June. Jon Jay for the past two months(or all season). Peter Bourjos…oh I forgot, he just doesn’t play that much. Grichuk is the latest blow to a team that knows how to roll with the punches.
While the hottest theme park ride in town heads to the disabled list, guys like Heyward and Piscotty can step up and take over now. Aging AAAA talents like Tommy Pham can rise to the occasion. Kolten Wong, rest or not, can hopefully find comfort in the #2 spot. An offense that struggles to score runs no matter who comes or goes will soldier on top of the best pitching in baseball.
Randal Grichuk isn’t gone for good, folks. He’s just hurt and needs time. Keep your head up and enjoy Cardinals baseball. If any team knows how to endure, it’s the Birds.