Power shortage doesn't slow Cardinals' production

Power shortage doesn't slow Cardinals' production

Power shortage doesn't slow Cardinals' production

ATLANTA -- Currently positioned to be the most productive team in decades when hitting with runners in scoring position in decades, the Cardinals' offense continues to pace the National League in most other offensive categories as well. No other NL club has scored more runs or tallied more hits than St. Louis, which also leads the league in on-base percentage and OPS.

They've done it all, too, despite a power shortage.

The Cardinals enter Saturday having hit 83 home runs through their first 100 games. Only two NL teams (San Francisco and Miami) have hit fewer, and it puts the Cardinals on pace for only 134 this season. The last time the Cardinals finished with so few long balls in a non-strike-shortened season was 1993. The Cardinals hit 118 homers that year.

"It doesn't mean much to me," said manager Mike Matheny, whose club still claims baseball's best winning percentage. "It's been about wins and run production, and we've been getting wins and producing some runs. As soon as our guys start thinking about hitting homers, we're in trouble. We just go and take good at-bats. Stats like that get thrown out the window, in my opinion."

Entering Saturday's game, the only Cardinals player to homer since July 10 was Yadier Molina, who has two blasts during that span. His solo homer in Friday's loss snapped a string of six straight homerless games. The Cardinals still won five of those contests.

"I think it helps that we have so many good hitters on the team, so one guy doesn't necessarily have to feel like he has to hit a home run in his spot to drive in all of them," Allen Craig said. "It's kind of like a 'pass-the-baton' kind of thing. If we can just keep the inning extended, that's a big deal."

The Cardinals collected 159 homers a year ago and, for the first time in franchise history, had five players hit 20. This year, it could be a stretch to have three players reach that mark. Carlos Beltran, who has already hit 19 in 2013, should reach it again soon. Matt Holliday (13 home runs) and Craig (10) each have a chance, as well.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.