Paul Goldschmidt is looking to return as MVP in the Cardinals’ playoffs

by Pedro Mora
FOX Sports MLB Writer

On his return to Dodger Stadium last week, St. Louis Cardinals Assistant batting coach Turner Ward couldn’t stay on the field after his team finished batting practice. As soon as the last swing was taken, he quickly sped down the steps of the visiting lair as his precious disciple was waiting for him in the cages.

there is that Paul Goldschmidt He prefers to practice almost every day without fail, without any outside eyes on him. The 35-year-old first baseman’s routine helped propel him to the best performance of his career and supported the Cardinals, who defied expectations to outpace their competition at NL Central.

Goldschmidt leaned into routine as an exciting August gave way to a disappointing September. But overall, he was still so good in 2022 that he could potentially win his first MVP award. He appeared on the ballot after eight seasons and finished second twice, but never won. This is his best chance yet.

Not a month ago, Goldschmidt was in serious competition to win the first triple crown in the NL in 85 years, an even greater honor. He led in batting averages and RBIs and stood just two house hurdles behind the league lead. Freddy Freeman Since then it has been exceeded on average. Alonso’s house I did the same at RBIs, and Kyle Schwarber Seven applicants in total jumped at home.

That’s because Goldschmidt has been a humble hitter since the Cardinals returned from a road trip to his old home in Arizona and Chicago. In 27 games since his home start on August 26, he’s only hit 0.217, with a 0.333 on percentage basis and 0.340 slowdown. That’s why he’s working overtime with Ward, his longtime coach who dates back to his time as a coach Diamondbackbefore matches. He has lost his own timing.

To be clear, Goldschmidt himself predicted a recession. He has long underestimated the possibility of him winning the Triple Crown. “If something like this happened, it would be a miracle,” he told reporters the day before this pent-up stretch began.

The hotline that preceded it was a source of great marvel – for the sport, for fans of the Cardinals and the Cardinals themselves. Goldschmidt had 1,288 OPS in May, 1.115 OPS in August and 0.974 OPS in between. Before and after matches at the club, his teammates joked that Goldschmidt was so on fire that he removed the defenders’ gloves. The reserved Goldschmidt did not gloat over his exploits or alter his behavior in any noticeable way, which only made his peers roar louder.

“He was living properly”, defensive player Corey Dickerson He said. “The defender jumps, the ball hits his glove, and the gauntlet literally flies. You’re a little bit jealous. But when there’s someone like that, you encourage him. You want him to keep that up.”

He did until recently. Now, if Goldschmidt keeps slipping and one of his peers pushes his team to the playoffs, it’s conceivable that The MVP . vote can be challenged. As per FanGraphs measurements, San Diego‘s Mane Machado It was basically the same value as Goldschmidt. So did Goldschmidt’s teammate Nolan Arenadobut Machado worked for four months without the help of an elite second hitter.

Arenado has repeatedly said that Goldschmidt should win the MVP award. Earlier this season, he went so far as to say Goldschmidt is the best player he’s ever played for at any club – and “much better” than Arenado itself. The consensus from his teammates is that Arenado is a more enthusiastic contender than Goldschmidt, so that says something.

Cardinal staging jar over a long career Adam WainwrightAlso, Goldschmidt was declared his player of the year – and Arenado his second choice. But, as Wainwright pointed out earlier this month to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it was Albert Pujols Which held the Cardinals more than the MVP nominee in August. That month, Pujols managed it Reaching 700 homers last week in Los Angeles.

Oliver Marmol, Senior General Manager, noted that Pujols’ pursuit had revitalized his team. Dickerson, one of the Cardinals’ most seasoned players, suggested the pursuit of personal records was one of the reasons the club screwed up some in September. They’ve been advanced enough Milwaukee To keep the playoffs in sight, loom individual milestones close enough to grab attention.

Now, one week of the season is left to see what their collective form is before they begin playing after the season closes on October 7 at Busch Stadium. The Pujols have already made history, and Goldschmidt has bigger things to worry about than getting a prize.

“I think we’ve been through this little stretch here because there’s a lot of things guys get close to having. It’s kind of a bit more individual,” Dickerson said. “The month before the team was more because it’s so far from the light. And if you play in the playoffs, your numbers literally don’t matter.”

Well, they do. But they matter in a different way. The Cardinals will count on Goldschmidt to carry out their October offensive. The week until then matters, not so much for the MVP race but as his last chance to regain his MVP form.

Pedro Moura is the National Baseball Writer for FOX Sports. He has previously covered Dodgers for The Athletic, The Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Register and LA Times, and his university, USC, for ESPN Los Angeles. He is the author of “How to Beat a Broken Game”. Follow him on Twitter @trimmed.

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