Fowler thriving on top of the Cardinals' lineup

Players sport hockey sweaters before Friday's giveaway

September 14th, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- When watched video of Rockies starter Tim Melville before Thursday’s game at Coors Field, he knew Melville wouldn’t throw a lot of fastballs to Cardinals hitters.

So when Melville threw the first pitch of the game and it was a fastball, Fowler jumped on it for a leadoff home run in the Cardinals’ eventual 10-3 win. Including that home run, Fowler reached base eight times between St. Louis' games on Wednesday and Thursday, going 4-for-5 with four walks. He followed that up by walking three times and scoring twice in the Cardinals' 10-0 win on Friday.

Back in the leadoff spot he had slipped out of over his first two seasons with the Cardinals, Fowler is hitting like he’s used to hitting, and it’s helping the National League Central leaders more than ever. On Thursday, he said that he’s more comfortable in the leadoff spot because of the familiarity that comes with it.

“I’ve been doing it my whole career,” Fowler said. “Any time you have to adapt to a new role, it’s tough. But I feel comfortable being back in the leadoff spot. … Like I said before the season started, as long as I can get at-bats and get in there all the time, I’m happy.”

Fowler was moved to the leadoff spot on Aug. 6. Since then, the Cardinals have won 22 of 34 games and are 19-11 with Fowler atop the lineup. His slash line before Aug. 6 was .244/.340/.411, and since then it is .282/.388/.487.

But Fowler’s production at the top is more than just the numbers. It has helped stabilized the rest of the lineup, as well.

“It’s about the situation and how the situation presents itself,” Fowler said. “Being leadoff, you want to get on base for these guys [Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna] to drive you in. That’s all I’m trying to do.”

The other part of Fowler’s performance is his health. He missed the end of last season because of a foot fracture and parts of 2017 with injuries. But his health in 2019 shows in his results.

“This is a game that requires your physical and mental health,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “If you’re dinged up in either one of them, you’re going to be compromised. It’s part of the game we get, but when you’re not at your physical best, you’re not going to perform at your best.”

It’s almost hockey season

The Cardinals might be gearing up for the most important time of the year, but they’re also gearing up for hockey season. The Stanley Cup-champion Blues start their training camp Friday, so the Cardinals -- many who are avid Blues fans -- wore jerseys with the Blues logo on them for batting practice.

Fans will received a hockey sweater giveaway Friday night at Busch Stadium, too.

Twelve Blues players were recognized before the game, and defenseman Colton Parayko threw out the first pitch as “Gloria,” the Blues’ postseason theme song, played in the background.