Beyond providing scouting report to teammates, first baseman collects three hits
By David Cobb
ST. LOUIS -- Xavier Scruggs had struggled against Donn Roach as a member of Triple-A Memphis this season, going 0-for-6 against the right-hander, who was called up to make his Cubs debut against the Cardinals in an 8-1 St. Louis victory at Busch Stadium on Saturday night.
Perhaps Scruggs was just waiting for the optimal time to remind Roach of what he can do.
Playing first base and batting seventh for the Cardinals, the 27-year-old Scruggs pieced together a 3-for-4 night, which included an RBI single off Roach in the fourth inning that put St. Louis ahead, 2-1. In three starts since he was called up on June 19, Scruggs has three multihit games, and he has ripped a double in each of his last two contests.
It's merely the Major League continuation of a strong June for Scruggs, who was hitting .339 in 16 games this month for Memphis before he joined the Cardinals during their recent eight-game road trip.
"Coming up, these guys are already doing what they need to be doing, so it feels like you've got a lot of confidence going in," Scruggs said. "A lot of guys are doing their job, so I just want to contribute, help out and do the same."
Though he had struggled against Roach this year, Scruggs went 3-for-3 against him in Triple-A last year and was able to give his teammates in St. Louis a rundown of what to expect before Saturday's contest.
"We had a hitters' meeting yesterday about their staff, and I was able to tell them a little about Roach, because not too many of these guys had faced him," Scruggs said. "Obviously, it looked like it might have helped a little bit."
The Cardinals scored four runs on eight hits against Roach, who lasted 3 1/3 innings in his second Major League start, and they continued hitting after he exited. All nine St. Louis starters garnered at least one hit, and Scruggs was the only player with three.
"The times we had him up here before, we didn't give him too many opportunities," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Scruggs. "I watched him in the Minor League system, and when he would get going like this, it was impressive. He has power."
Scruggs was with the Cardinals from May 14-16 but did not play. Prior to that stint, his only Major League experience came last September after rosters expanded. In his three starts last season, Scruggs went 2-for-9. In his three starts this year, he is 8-for-13.
"It's a lot different because I have a lot more confidence going into this year and into these games, just knowing I don't need to do too much, because this team is already doing what they need to be doing," Scruggs said. "I'm just trying to be a little piece to help keep it going."
David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.