ST. LOUIS -- Earlier this season, Randal Grichuk was sent to the Minors to work on his performance at the plate. A month later, and four days removed from the 10-day disabled list, Grichuk has homered in four consecutive games, a career high, and became the second Cardinal to do
ST. LOUIS -- Earlier this season, Randal Grichuk was sent to the Minors to work on his performance at the plate. A month later, and four days removed from the 10-day disabled list, Grichuk has homered in four consecutive games, a career high, and became the second Cardinal to do so this season (William Fowler, June 15-18) in Monday's 8-2 win over the Rockies.
"I think a lot of it is the mindset," manager Mike Matheny said. "Every single time he's had this positive approach and attitude about, 'All right, I see what I have to do, and I'm going to go make it right,' and he does. It's just a matter of how we can have that without having to make those moves."
Grichuk will only need to keep his streak alive for two more games to tie Mark McGwire for the Cardinals' record (Sept. 27, 1997 to April 4, 1998). Five Cardinals have also put together streaks of five games within the same season, with Ryan Ludwick the last to do so (Aug. 1-6, 2008). The Major League record of eight consecutive games is shared by Ken Griffey Jr. (1993), Don Mattingly (1987) and Dale Long (1956).
Grichuk's homer on Monday gave the Cardinals an early four-run lead, and was followed by home runs by fellow outfielders Jose Martinez and Tommy Pham. With Stephen Piscotty nearing a return from the disabled list and Fowler entrenched in center, Matheny might soon have the right kind of problem to have: How will he find playing time for everyone?
The Cardinals won't actually have to address their overcrowded outfield situation for a little while longer, as Piscotty continues to recover from a strained right groin. Although Piscotty is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, there are still steps to be taken before that happens, and there is no timeline for his return.
He sustained the injury on July 14, against the Pirates, when his cleat got stuck in the turf at PNC Park.
"[Piscotty's] getting closer," Matheny said prior to Monday's game. "He's trying to just make that last little step to where he can move forward. ... I know there are some other things [the trainers] want to see him do before he can start playing. Right now he's just not ready yet."
When Piscotty does come off the DL, the Cardinals will have to balance their four capable starting outfielders in addition to Martinez, who has been reliable for the majority of the season. Whereas Fowler and Pham seem to be somewhat permanent fixtures, the third spot is less certain. With Grichuk's recent success, however, there have been rumors of him as a potential trade piece.
Although Piscotty's offensive numbers -- .236/.348/.371 with six home runs -- have been disappointing, he's determined to return to his role and have an impact on the team as soon as he can return.
"I don't really care about my stats at this point, they're a wash. I'm just trying to help this team push into the postseason," Piscotty said. "My numbers are not going to be anywhere near what I would have hoped at the beginning of the year, so I'm basically erasing them from my mind."
Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.