St. Louis Cardinals Need Kolten Wong to Step Up Production in Second Half

By Steve Ungrey
Kolten Wong St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Curry — USA TODAY Sports

This is a series that has brought back a lot of bad memories for the Pittsburgh Pirates and a lot of good memories for the St. Louis Cardinals, and Kolten Wong will gladly take some credit.

The highly-touted second-base prospect ended the game with a home run that helped the Cardinals to a win, and that marked the second time in two nights a Cardinal player walked off to victory for his squad.

Wong has been ineffective at stretches this season, even heading back down to the minor leagues for a spell. Thankfully, the Cardinals may have discovered the reason why Wong’s bat wasn’t up to speed in 2014.

Wong suffered an injury to his left shoulder earlier in the year and tried to play through the pain, but inevitably it got to be too much and he had to be sidelined for a while. His shoulder still isn’t 100 percent, but Wong told reporters he was pretty close and is able t0 swing without pain.

This is big, because the Cardinals need production from Wong and other players if they are to make a run at the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central division race. The Brewers and Cardinals meet up for a three-game series beginning Friday, and the Cardinals are currently four games out in the division race. The team is gathering strength at just the right time, and a sweep of Milwaukee would make this one heck of a race entering the All-Star break.

Wong was hitting .232 entering Tuesday’s contest against the Pirates, but he has a .333 average in the past week. This suggests what Wong says about his shoulder is true. Maybe he is playing through the pain and able to keep the shoulder from further harm in the second half.

If Wong can’t make a go of it, it could be a bad situation in St. Louis for the second half. With Mark Ellis not really hitting or getting the job done offensively, Wong’s continued woes only accent how the offense has stumbled at times this season. Aside from Matt Adams, Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter, the bats have been largely silent, and a team that prides itself on offense has had more questions pop up than answers.

Wong is showing signs that he finally gets it. Let’s hope that continues to the end of the first half and beyond.

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