The St. Louis Cardinals topped the Chicago Cubs 6-3 Sunday, taking two out of three in the weekend series in the Windy City. As has become predictable for St. Louis, Allen Craig contributed to the win with three hits and two runs batted in.
Kyle Lohse allowed three runs over six innings to pick up his 16th win against just three losses. Jason Motte saved his second straight game Sunday, bringing his save total to 40. Motte leads the National League by one save over Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves.
The Cardinals' lead for the final National League wild card spot was two and a half games over the Brewers heading into Friday's play. It's still at two and a half games after Sunday, but three big games have been knocked off the schedule for both teams.
What I am interested in is the continued RBI production of Allen Craig. Earlier in the year I thought one of manager Mike Matheny's challenges would be to get at-bats for Craig. As it turned out, the injuries to Lance Berkman took care of that problem.
With 89 RBIs in 110 games, Craig is averaging .81 RBIs per game. Let's compare that to some of the MLB leaders this year. NL RBI leader Chase Headley has 108 RBIs in 151 games (.72/game). Ryan Braun, last year's MVP, has 107 RBIs in 143 games (.75/game). AL leader Miguel Cabrera, with 131 knocked in over 149 games (.88/game), beats Craig's per game production, but then Cabrera is making a serious run at a Triple Crown this season.
Craig didn't start his 2012 season until May 1 because of off-season knee surgery. He then missed the second half of May with another trip to the DL. He still knocked in 19 runs in May in just 51 at-bats. Since then he has been a model of consistency: 19 RBIs in June, 16 in July, 17 in August and 16 so far in September.
With a spot in the playoffs at stake, the Cardinals have more interesting things to worry about than individual statistics. But for fans, keeping an eye on player stats is part of the fun. St. Louis has nine games left. If Craig plays in all of them and maintains his per game RBI average, he would finish with 96 RBIs this year. I guess he'll just have to pick things up a bit.A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.