Hochman: Cards need DeJong's impact bat – last three games, they've seen just that

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Jim Edmonds has said this before: Baseball is a career of making adjustments.

Such is the case with Paul DeJong, who realized before Monday’s game that his hands were too high to begin his swing.

So DeJong moved his hands lower in his stance, and drilled a baseball for a hit in Monday’s near-comeback.

On Tuesday, the thrilling 3-2 win at Miami, he doubled and homered, the latter a 105.4 mile per hour screamer to left, which manager Mike Shildt told reporters was  “like a two iron out of here.”

And then in Wednesday’s win, which gave St. Louis its fourth-straight series win, DeJong drilled a double. Two RBIs in each of the past two games.

For all the talk about needing more production from Marcell Ozuna, a similar plea can be made per DeJong, who Shildt has entrusted primarily with the No. 3 or No. 5 spot in the lineup (Paul hit fifth on Wednesday).

The Cards’ lack of production from the middle of the lineup has, once again, hindered the team. Same old story from 2017 and 2016. This year, the No. 3 slot has an OPS of .694, which is 14th out of 15 National League teams (the Dodgers are actually 15th, but the teams right above the Cards are the teams you’d expect – the Marlins, Mets and Padres). The league average for OPS from the No. 3 slot is .797.

But DeJong has made some strides at least this week — he shared his hands adjustment with reporters in Miami. His OPS+ is now above average at 102, an benchmark for the modern hitter. For the season – 292 plate appearances – he has a .746 OPS. His batting average is .244, while OBP is .323 and slugging is .422.

The Cards have Thursday off and play at Kansas City this weekend. Crazy-small sample size, but in in 20 plate appearances against Royals pitching, DeJong has hit a double and homer with an OBP of .350 and slugging percentage of .500.