Cardinals' bench showing plenty of early pop

Pinch-hitters have hit six home runs already this season

Cardinals' bench showing plenty of early pop

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals pinch-hitting power display continued Friday night.

Brandon Moss and Matt Adams each hit home runs off the bench during the Cardinals' 14-3 victory over the Reds. The blasts were pinch-hit home runs No. 5 and No. 6 for the team this season.

The Cardinals hit just four pinch hit home runs in 2015.

"With the guys that we have on the bench, it's definitely more of a possibility than most teams have with myself and Matt (Adams) and Jedd (Gyorko) and even (Greg Garcia)," said Moss, who has two pinch-hit homers in the team's past three games. "The guys on the bench have some power and they're coming in bunches right now which is great."

Adams' two-run homer

The bench has helped power the Cardinals to 17 home runs in their first 10 games, the fourth most in the Majors. St. Louis hit just 137 total home runs in 2015, which was 25th.

"The pinch-hit home runs comes down to guys being prepared, and just having talented players," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We have the kind of bench right now that has the potential to do damage. We talked about that as soon as we started to construct this time, it was going to be something we haven't had before."

Cardinals pinch hitters are hitting .563 (9-for-16) with six homers and nine RBIs.

"You're ready to go from your first at-bat whether you're starting or not, but pinch hitting you're probably only going to get one at-bat," Adams said. "So you've got to be ready, watch the film, see what the guy likes to throw and go up there looking for that pitch and not miss it when you get it."

The team is well on pace to break its season record of 10 pinch hit home runs set in 1998. Part of the success is physical, but just as important is the mental side of coming off the bench on a key situation.

"It's hard to control that emotion when you get into the game because adrenaline takes over," Moss said. "When you're in the game regularly you kind of calm everything down, you're seeing pitches, you're working counts, but when you're pinch hitting you've got to go from pitch one. It's just a different mentality."

Joe Harris is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.