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St. Louis Cardinals V Chicago Cubs

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong (12) takes off his helmet after flying out with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

QUESTION: DeJong's home-run numbers have stayed consistent, but is there reason to worry about the rest of his offensive game? Outside of a really good April, he's basically been a .200 hitter with about 5-6 homers per month.

GOOLD: His average and his ability to get on base and his average/production with runners in scoring position softened and slumped. He's discussed his frustration with the RISP numbers, and he really hasn't been able to pull into a consistent stretch since the start of the second half.

Sure, it's a concern. And you can see why throughout September. Goldschmidt had more walks in Sept. than he had in the previous two months combined. Why? Teams avoided him. They'd rather face Ozuna. Or Molina. Or DeJong. They were open to doing that -- daring the others to beat them. That didn't work when Fowler, Wong/Edman were on base and you can see that's when the crooked numbers came. Or when Molina took advantage.

That's a big thing in a short series. Atlanta will look for soft spots in the order and just avoid the other hitters -- and if there are a handful of players they can do that to, the lineup will struggle.