Incredible hitting with runners in scoring position has carried the Cardinals all season and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that they finished the year with the highest RISP batting average of all time:
The highest average since 1974, the first year of reliable RISP stats, by a team with runners in scoring position was .311 by Detroit in 2007. The Cardinals shattered that number by going 447 for 1,355, or .330. They did this in a season when averages across baseball with runners in scoring position were at a low for the past decade.
Breaking their incredible team totals down even further, the Cardinals had 10 different players get at least 50 at-bats with runners in scoring position and all but one of them hit at least .297:
Allen Craig .454 Matt Holliday .390 Matt Carpenter .388 Carlos Beltran .374 Yadier Molina .373 Daniel Descalso .361 Matt Adams .329 Pete Kozma .322 Jon Jay .297 David Freese .238
That’s amazing, especially considering that no other team hit above .282 with runners in scoring position this season. And seriously though, what was David Freese’s problem?
(Incidentally, last year with mostly the same group of hitters the Cardinals hit .264 with runners in scoring position. Which helps explain why many people don’t consider “clutch” a sustainable, year-to-year skill.)