Health is finally reentering the St. Louis Cardinals clubhouse, as Matt Adams is back in the starting lineup and Matt Holliday has been activated from the disabled list. Randal Grichuk has returned and made an impact, and within a week the Cards could be fully stocked with lethal weapons in the field. With the rise of Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty, guys like Holliday have been forgotten about a bit this summer. After all, Holliday has only played in 11 games since June 8th. His value can’t be misplaced by even the casual fan, but just how important may have lingered. Here are 7 reasons Holliday can make an impact.
7. He will force weaker bats to be weeded out of the lineup. Slumping bats like Brandon Moss, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos won’t be able to accumulate as many starts with Holliday returning to left field.
6. He will bring a sense of power back to the Cardinals lineup. Sure, 2015 hasn’t been a glamorous season for Holliday bombs(4 in 207 at bats), but everybody knows the big guy’s bat gets extra hot in September and always has the capability to launch one.
5. Love or hate the stat but Holliday likes coming up with meaningful hits. He was among the league leaders in game winning hits the past two seasons. His average with runners in scoring position is .400 with a .733 slugging percentage in 45 at bats in 2015. Over the past three seasons, his average with RISP(432 at bats) is .331.
4. He’s an on base percentage machine. Before he went down this season, pitchers were having a hard time getting this Hulk out. He had a .409 on base percentage when he reinjured the quad on July 29th.
3. He will stabilize the lineup. When you put Holliday back into the 3rd spot, Jhonny Peralta can be moved down and the lineup reloads so to speak. Piscotty can stay at #2 and Peralta, Molina and Adams can shuffle lower in the order. When Holliday was healthy and thriving, this lineup was scoring big time.
2. He likes playing his rivals. From 2012-15, Holliday is hitting .310(269-866) with 38 HR and 155 RBI off his National League division opponents.
1. The effect on the team. Any time you get a well respected veteran climbs back onto the active roster, the entire roster gets a boost. Rookies want to prove their worth and the fellow vets get an extra kick in the butt. The return of Holliday should help the Cardinals in many ways physically but mentally there will be an effect as well.
The N.L. Central has gotten too close for comfort, with the lead dangling down to as low as 2 games before play started in Milwaukee Tuesday. The return of Holliday can have a positive effect on this tiring Cardinals team. Expect the Hulk of Stillwater, Oklahoma to provide some big moments down the stretch once he gets his legs back at the plate.