MLB: Cards’ Paul Goldschmidt looks to change course vs. Angels

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There are multiple reasons the St. Louis Cardinals have struggled for most of the season.

One of the more notable areas of concern points to a player one would least expect, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, even though he has been a slow starter for much of his career.

Goldschmidt will seek better results Tuesday when the Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels play the second contest of their three-game series in Anaheim, Calif.

He’s a seven-time All-Star who has finished in the top 3 of the MVP voting four times, including winning the award in 2022. He’s also a four-time Gold Glove recipient and five-time Silver Slugger winner.

Goldschmidt has been as consistent as they come throughout his career, leaving the club confident he eventually will put up numbers that are typical for him. But so far, Goldschmidt’s numbers are eye-popping, and not in a good way.

He went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Monday’s 10-5 win over the Angels, but he missed out on a big opportunity for more when he grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

Overall, he is hitting .199 with just six extra-base hits (three homers, three doubles) and an OPS of .562, compared to a career OPS of .900.

“I basically haven’t performed on every pitch … and location … and situation,” Goldschmidt said. “It’s just been a combination of a lot of different things. It’s really not even about me targeting one thing that pitchers are doing. Right now, it’s just about putting good swings on pitches and having good at-bats.”

One theory is that pitchers have drastically reduced the number of fastballs they throw to Goldschmidt, relying more on breaking pitches and off-speed pitches. But Goldschmidt won’t use it as an excuse.

“I haven’t really done well against most anything, so really I’m just trying to focus on the stuff I can control, and whatever they throw up there, I’m trying to hit it,” he said.

Right-hander Sonny Gray (4-2, 2.29 ERA) will make his seventh start of the season for the Cardinals, but he’s coming off his worst outing of the year. He gave up six runs on seven hits in five innings in a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers last Thursday.

Gray is 5-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 16 career games (15 starts) against the Angels.

Left-hander Reid Detmers (3-4, 4.96 ERA) will start on the mound for Los Angeles and try to return to the form he had early in the season. He was 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA through his first four starts before losing his last four trips to the mound.

He has never faced the Cardinals.

While pitching has been a major issue for the Angels this season, one bright spot has been right-handed reliever Adam Cimber, whose unusual sidearm delivery has fooled hitters.

Cimber entered Monday’s game in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out, getting Goldschmidt to hit into that double play. Cimber has stranded all 15 inherited baserunners this season.

“It’s very valuable for any team to have a weapon like that,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “He throws strikes. He has a funky delivery. It’s tough to really lock into. If he was one of those that had that funky delivery and couldn’t hit the strike zone with it, it wouldn’t be as effective. But it’s effective because he throws strikes and he’s coming from that funky angle.”

–Field Level Media

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