ST. LOUIS — Cardinals fans who’ve gone giddy over the booming, left-handed swing Matt Adams uses to send baseballs to faraway places surely saw this coming. This soon-to-be road trip might as well be called the “Big City” Tour.
Just don’t expect the 6-foot-3, 260-pound slugger to sound as eager as his fans. That wouldn’t really fit his style.
“I don’t look,” Adams said when asked about a schedule that seems to trend in his favor for the next week and a half. “I just come to the park each day ready to play. When the lineup is posted, I’ll go about my business the same whether I’m in the lineup, or not in the lineup.”
The thing is, there’s a good chance Adams will be seeing himself in the lineup a lot more the next time his team hits the road. Following Sunday’s series finale against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium, St. Louis will play eight consecutive games against American League teams, including two games against the Astros, three against the Athletics and three more against the Angels. American League teams mean a designated hitter. And that means an easy way for Adams to get more at-bats.
Those have been hard to come by, especially for a guy who woke up Sunday morning with a .306 batting average, a .337 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .529. In 85 at-bats this season, Adams has four home runs and 16 RBIs.
Good numbers, yes. But still not enough for the second-year player to crack a starting lineup that boasts big-hitting veterans Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday. As a result, Adams gets fewer swings. And when they come, they’re often in pinch-hitting situations with the game on the line.
“That mentality, it’s tough,” Adams said. “Being a bench guy, coming off and facing the set-up guy, or even the closer, in a crucial spot. It’s getting better. I feel better about it. It’s a process that grows on you, and you adapt to it as you go along.”
This road trip should offer some relief. With the designated hitter in play, the Cardinals could put Adams at first base and spare a veteran bat from playing the field. Or, Adams could DH. Either way, there’s good reason to expect the Cardinals’ lineup to feature more left-handed power strokes than usual for the next eight games.
“I’ve just got to be ready each day,” Adams said. “You never know what can happen in this game. My outlook is to just stay prepared, as I have been this season.”
Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at email@example.com