Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deshields Gets Hot, Says Cardinals Are Warming Up

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deshields Gets Hot, Says Cardinals Are Warming Up

Article excerpt

In the past two weeks, Delino DeShields has been the catalyst that he and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa thought he could be.

The Cardinals' second baseman and leadoff man has boosted his average to .287 in the midst of a 20-for-54 streak. His on-base percentage has risen to a respectable .333 and he has stolen 14 bases in 17 attempts, which could put him on target for a 50-steal season.

"I feel pretty good," said DeShields, who formerly played for Montreal and Los Angeles. "When I get on base, it makes us a tough ballclub. I know that if I can get on for these guys - any way I can - it's going to make us tough. "But there's nothing like winning games. The ultimate goal is to win games. I'd hit .250 as long as I'm on a winner." The Cardinals are not winners - they're 21-28 as they prepare for the start of a four-game series tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium. But DeShields said he felt the Cardinals' ascension was imminent. DeShields bases his theory on the number of one- and two-run games the Cardinals have had. "We've lost a lot of close games, which means we haven't played that bad," he said. "We've played pretty good baseball. A hit here and a hit there and we could be seven games over .500. That's just not the way it's turned out." The Cardinals are 5-11 in one-run games and 5-7 in two-run games, which accounts for the reason they are as far below .500 as they are. But, unlike with some teams he has been on, DeShields said there was camaraderie and optimism in the clubhouse. "Guys haven't thrown in the towel," DeShields said. "Nobody has given up. There's a lot of confidence here still. You can't convince yourself you've got a good team. But I feel like we've got a good ballclub. "I've enjoyed it (in St. Louis). Winning makes everything a little better, but even when there have been times when we've had some tough losses . . . after the game it's over. Guys still go out and have dinner together. "Probably the biggest thing I've seen here is the consistency of guys day in and day out. …

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