ST. LOUIS -- Though his average is still suffering from a ragged season start, Randal Grichuk has quietly put together a productive 10-game stretch in which he's enjoyed some payoff from all that time spent training his eye and tweaking his swing during the last homestand.With a pinch-hit RBI single
ST. LOUIS -- Though his average is still suffering from a ragged season start, Randal Grichuk has quietly put together a productive 10-game stretch in which he's enjoyed some payoff from all that time spent training his eye and tweaking his swing during the last homestand.
With a pinch-hit RBI single in the Cardinals' 3-1 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday, Grichuk has hit .333 and driven in six runs over his last 33 at-bats. The strikeouts irk him -- Grichuk had five of his last nine at-bats before Tuesday -- but in between, Grichuk has been able to offer the sustained production that was absent for most of the first five weeks of the season.
"I see him taking some good at-bats," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "For us, it seems like the biggest thing is pitch recognition for Randal. If he's seeing the ball, laying off the tough pitches out of the zone, he's going to put the ball in play hard. And when he does, his odds are pretty high."
Grichuk's hit to knock starter Chad Bettis out of the game came off his bat at 95 mph and sliced through the left side of the Rockies' infield. It was his first RBI off the bench this season and second hit in a pinch-hit opportunity. But there was something to be learned from it, too.
Grichuk noted that he finds himself more aggressive in pinch-hit opportunities and also less in his own head, since he's typically not watched as much video on a day when he doesn't start.
"I feel like being aggressive works well to my advantage," Grichuk said.
He might be on to something there, too. Grichuk is 10-for-22 when putting the first pitch in play this season. Tuesday's RBI was his eighth in such spots.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.