ICYMI: Matt Holliday’s return aids Cardinals


Don’t look now, but someone just came back to help the St. Louis Cardinals in the second half of the season.

It is only fitting Matt Holliday‘s return came after the All-Star break finished. The four days off hopefully represented a transition for the Cardinals from the chaos that came at the end of the first half to a calmer, more enjoyable second half.

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Holliday went 0-for-3 in his team’s 3-2 win over the New York Mets, a win that put the Cardinals 3-1/2 games in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates once again.

Don’t panic. So he went hitless. Remember how long the Cardinals missed Holliday.

He was out for close to six weeks with a right quad strain, but St. Louis managed to win 18 of 31 games while Holliday was out.

So much for the bottom dropping out of the season.

The good news about Holliday’s return, besides his bat sliding into the usual No. 3 slot in the lineup, is Randal Grichuk slides over to center field. This is what the Cardinals want to start the second half.

Peter Bourjos will return to the bench, which was weakened a bit when Holliday was injured. Bourjos doesn’t hit well, but he is a decent fielder. Don’t forget Tommy Pham, who showed some pop when he was called up from Triple-A Memphis, is still around, as is Jon Jay, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list.

The Cardinals will still hit the trade market later this month to do something about the pitching and bench. Right now, having a healthy Holliday is like making a free move.