The good news? The team is just coming off a 13-0 demolishing of the divisional rival Pittsburgh Pirates to get their August started right; but the bad news is that the win actually snapped a seven-game losing streak for the redbirds, four of whom came against the very same Bucs team, who are now 1.5 games ahead in the NL Central race.
And then we’re back at the good part: the Cardinals finally got Matt Holliday back, and he’s been making an immediate impact … even if it hasn’t shown up in the win-loss column just yet.
Until Thursday, anyway. Not that St. Louis starter Joe Kelly and his bullpen really needed it, but Holliday did his best to contribute anyway, going 2-for-5 at the plate and scoring a pair of runs, while getting in on the fun in an eight-run seventh inning by driving in one of his own. Yeah, it came via a groundout … but I’m sure the Cards will take it given their horror show all week.
Including that latest multi-hit performance, the outfielder has now hit in all but one of the seven games that he played in, with multi-hit performances in four of those games. Now, keeping in mind that 31 PA is just about the smallest of small sample sizes, Holliday has led the Cardinals’ regulars over the last week in hits (11), runs (four), RBIs (four), and OPS (.820).
Oh, and he’s even leading the team with stolen bases with two over this short span as well. That, folks, is what you call immediate impact with a capital … well, everything, really.
So yeah, I think it’s pretty fair to say that the veteran slugger is doing his fair share in carrying this offense right now. Though the power stroke hasn’t quite returned yet, the .367/.387/.433 triple-slash he’s put up suggests that better things are yet to come for the Cardinals as long as he’s healthy enough to hold down the middle of the lineup.
It’s not often that a contending team can nearly get swept in a five-game series against a divisional rival and still feel pretty good about themselves, but with Holliday doing his thing, it’s easy to see why the Cardinals still like their chances.