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Freese coming through for the Cardinals

May 24, 2010

With Albert Pujols leading the way in RBIs for the St. Louis Cardinals, one would think $120 million man Matt Holliday would be a close second. But that’s not the case. Twenty-seven year old rookie third baseman David Freese trails Pujols for the team lead by one RBI, 29 to 28.

Freese has provided a much-needed boost for the Cardinals the entire season, as well as in the past few weeks as the Cards have struggled to manufacture runs and win ballgames. In the Cardinals’ last seven games Freese has batted .360 with a .429 on-base percentage, driving in six runs and scoring four times.

A perfect example of what Freese has meant to the Cardinals was showcased yesterday in a 6-5 Cardinals’ win. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Freese singled in Pujols and Colby Rasmus to tie the game, 5-5. The hit was his third of the day, and Freese also reached in the 10th-inning on a hit-by-pitch, followed by a Yadier Molina walk, which gave way  for Felipe Lopez to knock in Matt Holliday for the winning run.

The win pushed the Cardinals a half-game in front of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central and was the Cardinals fifth in the past seven games after starting May with a 6-9 record.

Freese is now on pace for 100 RBIs, and, as many Cardinal fans would attest, the RBIs are coming at exactly the right time. Freese leads the majors with 17 two-out RBIs, and he is batting .386 with runners in scoring position and a cool .333 with runners in scoring position and two outs.

“David just really takes tough at-bats,” Tony LaRussa said. “He is going to be a run producer his entire career.”

What Freese has done with the bat may be outdone by his work with his glove. After a game against the Brewers in early April, in which Freese committed two errors that allowed two runs to score, Freese has made spectacular play after spectacular play at the hot corner, bailing out several Cardinals’ pitchers over the past few weeks.

Freese ranks 12th in fielding percentage out of all major league third baseman, he has assisted on 94 plays in the field – good for second in the majors – and he has played 282 consecutive innings in the field for the Cardinals, the longest streak by any Cardinal player this season.

Third base, a position of uncertainty for the Cardinals in 2009, has provided the Cardinals with solid production in 2010. The Cardinals had to play inexperienced rookies, journeymen and injured veterans at the hot corner in 2009. But with David Freese batting over .400 at Busch Stadium in 2010 and leading all National League rookies in hits with 47, Mr. Freese has put his name into the race for the Rookie of the Year.

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