On a team like the 2013 Cardinals — six All-Stars, multiple MVP contenders, a Cy Young candidate — not everyone gets the attention he deserves. Even Allen Craig.
Seems kind of implausible, doesn’t it? Allen Craig — All-Star Allen Craig — overlooked? Yet at times he’s overshadowed by the tremendous seasons that Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter and Adam Wainwright and, to list all four of our first-half MVP candidates, Edward Mujica are having.
Yet even with Adam Wainwright’s performance yesterday, it’s kind of hard to overlook Allen’s role in the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres. Yes, Wainwright was tremendous again as he became the National League’s first 13-game winner in pitching eight innings and allowing the two runs on eight hits while striking out seven.
But Allen Craig was the hero of the game, thanks to his ninth-inning catch.
Allen himself called it “pretty dramatic” and it brought to mind a certain similar catch he made on Oct. 28, 2011 — you remember that game, I’m sure. (Ah, that video clip. Chris Carpenter! And That Guy Who Used to Play First Base …) Though yesterday’s catch didn’t necessarily come in a game with the same level of importance, it was more crucial to preserving the victory given that there were runners at second and third in a one-run game.
And it bears watching again, which you can do here. (Edward Mujica’s reaction tops the one by Chris Carpenter from the World Series too — although The Chief’s was likely a “thanks for bailing me out” scream, since yesterday was not exactly his best outing of the season.)
Of course, defense is not what we usually think of when it comes to Allen. No, that would be offense. Hitting with runners in scoring position. RBI. All of those were a factor in yesterday’s game also.
The Cardinals were trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning when AC came up to bat with Matt Carpenter at second and Yadi at first. There was little doubt he’d come through. He’s hitting .489/.500/.681 with runners in scoring position, after all, with 67 RBI. Those stats are after yesterday’s RBI single, though. Because Allen Craig did in that at-bat what Allen Craig does: drove in the guy who was in scoring position.
That RBI was number 77 total for the season, which is third-best in the NL. His batting average is also up to .332 — good for second in the NL, behind Yadi’s .336.
Allen, sorry we haven’t been as quick to praise you and recognize your achievements as consistently as we have some of the other Cardinals. Because it’s definite that without you, the 2013 Cardinals wouldn’t be where they are.
Christine Coleman is the lead St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.