Cardinals front-runner Paul Goldschmidt did his part against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his career. In 130 games against them before Monday night, the former Arizona slugger posted an average of .302 with 31 homers and 98 RBIs and a .927 OPS.
But like the Dodgers when they arrived here in the early morning of Denver, the Cardinals were going to need all that from Goldschmidt and more to compete for the two titles of defending National League champions.
"It's a great team," said Goldschmidt. "They've been to the World Series in the last two years. It will be a good challenge for us.
In their first 10 games, the Dodgers were 8-2 with a batting average of .307, with 24 points, 24 points and 84 percent and an unmatched base percentage in the league. 403 and OPS (based more slugging) of 0.991, more than 100 points better than the next club.
"Honestly, I have not looked at them much," said Goldschmidt. "I know they score a lot of points. But that does not surprise me. They are super talented, as good as any offensive team, and (they) have been in recent years.
"It's not a coincidence that they won the West (National League) for six consecutive years and won the NL pennant for the last two."
Dodgers MVP Cody Bellinger, a player of the week in the league last week, scored seven homers and 18 RBIs with a .455 average and a ridiculous 1,512 OPS in the first 10 games.
"You saw the potential pretty quickly," Goldschmidt told the third-year slugger. "Since he's in the big leagues, he's played pretty much from day one.
"He hits the circuits, hits for the average, walks, he's a great runner, plays a great center … he really does it all.
"He impressed me on all levels. Hopefully he'll take a few days off.
Cardinals director Mike Shildt said, "You're doing due diligence before the show and you realize they have guys who can do some damage and they have a lot of guys that will work too. It's a balanced team, and we have to be successful in doing business. "
The Dodgers lineup for Monday had three players and more than .400. The Cardinals' lineup had one of more than .300, with Kolten Wong at .433 and six starters with less than .250 with a .227 team mark.
When asked if he thought his team was close to his level, Shildt replied, "The good news is that we are not. But many things are going in the right direction. The good news is that, if we continue to hit balls, we are happy to see that the work will (finally) be positive. "
SHILDT RENTS WONG'S APPROACH
Speaking in particular of Wong's approach, which has not always been the best of his career, Shildt said, "My favorite piece of the year was probably caries yesterday." outs in the eighth inning – this was his second hit of the season.
"Awareness to the court," said Shildt, aware of the mix of seasons. "He has a three point pointer, he can go to the edge and he can dunk."
The five-by-seven Wong will probably be happy to hear this last testament.
For now, Shildt will keep Wong at the bottom of the list as he does not want two of his rare left-handed batters to hit successively, as he would if Shildt hit Wong in second place behind Matt Carpenter.
"(Wong) could be ready to hit the top of the range now," said Shildt. "The good news for our alignment is that we really did not need it. We have guys at the top of the range, we are very comfortable with All-Star caliber players (Carpenter, Goldschmidt). "
Shildt said that if players at the top of the order needed a day off, he could move Wong or even Harrison Bader to first or second place.
THE CONTROL OF REYES CONTINUES
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Shildt said he had a project in mind for reserve catcher Matt Wieters, who did not have one yet. It would probably be Wednesday night or Thursday afternoon, when the Cardinals will play a game at 12:15 with the Dodgers.