ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals are heading into the All-Star break having won or tied their past four series. The players who have helped lead them to their recent success, however, could not have been predicted 88 games ago.
In the Cardinals' 6-0 victory over the Mets on Sunday at Busch Stadium, Tommy Pham and rookies Paul DeJong and Luke Voit accounted for the club's three home runs and four of its six runs.
"Look at our club right now; Tommy Pham doesn't make our team out of Spring Training and is one of our most impactful bats here for a consistent period of time," manager Mike Matheny said. "Our starting shortstop [DeJong] was a guy that wasn't on our team, wasn't in the immediate plans and a guy at first base who wasn't even invited to Spring Training."
DeJong, the starting shortstop, certainly stepped up throughout the series against the Mets, breaking records across the three games. In the series, he went 9-for-12 (.750) with three home runs, five doubles and four RBIs. He is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak, and his eight extra-base hits in the series are the most by a Cardinals player in a three-game series in the modern era (post-1900).
While DeJong had been hitting well since returning June 15, recording a hit in 19 of the 24 games he has appeared in since then, he truly began to feel comfortable in the Major Leagues against the Mets. He has nine homers and is hitting .313 at the break.
"Overall it was a pretty good series," DeJong said. "I always had that in mind to get up here. ... I just focused on the day to day and tried to stick to my routine and produce every game."
Producing alongside him is Pham, who hit his 11th home run Sunday and has 11 stolen bases. He became the first Cardinal since Jose Pujols in 2009 to have at least 10 homers and 10 stolen bases before the break.
Pham left Sunday's win with right hip tightness in the seventh after recording three hits, two RBIs and two runs. The injury is not serious, and he'll just need rest and hydration. Pham is confident that the numbers reflect what he has been doing and that he will continue that.
"This is a game that's all about production, it's all about numbers," Pham said. "I have 11 home runs, 11 stolen bases now. If I was up here all year, I'd probably be at 15-15, looking at an All-Star season."
Voit, a St. Louis native, has also posted impressive numbers, hitting .316/.386/.684 in 38 at-bats. He has eight RBIs in July, including his four-RBI day July 3 against the Marlins.
For a player who was not even invited to Spring Training, Voit -- alongside Pham and DeJong -- is finding impressive ways to contribute, although the trio may not be surprising everyone
"I said when they asked when I got called up, who was ready, the two names that I said, Voit and DeJong, so it doesn't surprise me," Pham said. "The first thing when [Cardinals hitting coach John Mabry] talked about who I think is ready, I mentioned those two. So it doesn't surprise me that they're having success, because I've seen them do it in Triple-A. [In] Triple-A, I thought they were ready."