Last night, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday made his first appearance since straining his right hamstring on July 12. As players often are when they return from an injury, Holliday looked a little rusty, finishing the night going 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
He struggled to catch up to some balls and it appeared quite obvious that the power hitter still has a few cobwebs to shake off. However, there is a lot of good to take out of his return to the diamond. Yes, Holliday struggled against Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran, but his hit was one of only two on the night, so he was seeing the ball better than most of his comrades.
The biggest plus for the Cardinals with Holliday’s return is that, well … he is back. He immediately bolsters a lineup that has not necessarily had a ton of power, aside from Carlos Beltran. He’s always a threat to hit the ball out of the park and has had a pretty good season. For the year, he is hitting .268 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs.
Holliday’s return also comes at a crucial time as every game from here on out will be important. The Cardinals are in the midst of a NL Central race with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and could use a bat like the veteran’s to get more round trips on the bases and improve their scoring chances. St. Louis will need all the runs they can get in a tight race that will probably come down to the finish.