ST. LOUIS — With the Diamondbacks in town to kick off the post all-star break season for the Cardinals, a good amount of focus will be on the former Arizona slugger, Paul Goldschmidt.
Heck, the first baseman even held court for the media for about 15 minutes before Game 1 of the series.
The trade that sent Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver and Andy Young to Arizona for Goldschmidt was heralded as a steal for the Cards at the time (and I think it still was). But now, halfway into Goldy's first season in St. Louis, fans are getting a bit antsy waiting to see the same Goldschmidt Diamondbacks fans enjoyed for eight seasons.
Heading into the unofficial second half of the season, Goldschmidt is hitting just .254/.343/.426. Well below his career averages. Goldschmidt actually only has just one full season in which he hit below .290.
There are signs he's turning it around a bit, though.
Over his last eight games during the Cardinals' west coast road trip, he hit .300 with six RBI and two home runs.
Over the break though, Goldschmidt said he took it pretty easy, giving his body some much needed rest.
"It's good to get away, let your body get a break and come back ready to go," Goldschmidt said.
He did say he got some light swings in, though...
"I played a lot of wiffleball with my son. That was probably more swings playing wiffleball than I do in real baseball," he said.
If the Cardinals want to avoid missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season, they better hope those wiffleball sessions pay off. Goldschmidt has to be better in the second half if the club has any aspirations of playing October baseball.
Goldschmidt is the kind of guy who can carry a club, he's done it in the past.
The power numbers haven't been awful this season (16 home runs), but he hasn't been driving in runs even close to the pace he used to. A lot of that has to do with his place in the order. He hit second in 55 of the teams 88 games before the break, only driving in 26 runs from that spot.
Manager Mike Shildt has him hitting fourth for the first game in the "second half", so we'll see if that might be a new lineup wrinkle the rest of the season. (Although the Cardinals are facing a lefty in the series opener against Arizona, so that may also play a role)
The way it is constructed now, with Marcell Ozuna injured, Goldschmidt simply has to step up and be the offensive star the Cardinals have anticipated he'd be.
You can argue about the rotation or bullpen weaknesses all you want, but without Paul Goldschmidt being Paul Goldschmidt this second half might just turn into a lost cause for the Cards.