The Cardinals have been all about the home runs this year. They have 201 as a team on the season, leading the National League by 12 over their next closest pursuer. It’s the fourth most they’ve ever hit in franchise history, following their totals of 235, 223 and 214 in 2000, 1998 and 2004, respectively. They have 25 games left in the season.
But more notable than their home run totals is this little freakish stat: they have hit 15 pinch-hit home runs this year, which is a new MLB record. The previous record of 14 was held by the 2001 Giants and the 2001 Diamondbacks. Matt Carpenter‘s pinch-hit job in their come-from-behind victory over the Pirates last night broke the record.
Hitting pinch-hit homers is not a replicable skill — and using ringers like Matt Carpenter as a pinch-hitter isn’t exactly the same thing as trotting a contact specialist like Lenny Harris or Manny Mota out there — but it’s still pretty cool. Pinch-hit homers are fun and exciting. At least if you’re rooting for the team doing the pinch-hitting.