Posted on August 12, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The injuries will not stop coming for the St. Louis Cardinals, and outfielder Matt Holliday is the latest victim. In the 10th inning of Thursday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs, Holliday suffered a fractured thumb after being hit by the pitch by Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery. Holliday left the game immediately to take X-rays, which confirmed the break. The Cardinals are expected to put him on the 15-day DL on Friday. He will see a hand specialist in Chicago before returning to St. Louis.
Montgomery said afterwards he was not trying to hit Holliday, only that he was attempting to pitch inside. “Those affect seasons,” Holliday said of the pitch from Montgomery that was high and inside. “It’s super disappointing. But it’s part of the sport, unfortunately.” When asked if he thought the injury meant the end of his season, Holliday said, “I doubt it.”
“That’s awful,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after learning that Holliday had broken his thumb. “I felt horribly about it, we all did. He’s such a good player and important to them. That is bad news.”
It is indeed bad news for the Cardinals, who will put Holliday on the DL just two days after adding Matt Adams to the DL with a shoulder injury. St. Louis recently got Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Moss, and Matt Carpenter back from the DL, but around the same time they also lost shortstop Almedys Diaz to an injury, as it has been impossible for the Cardinals to obtain full health this season.
Holliday is hitting .242 with 19 home runs this season. He and Moss have formed an outstanding platoon in left field. However, with Adams also on the DL, Moss is now the team’s primary first baseman, creating a large vacancy in left field with Holiday now going to the DL. “[You] always want all of our guys around,” manager Mike Matheny said Thursday. “We have some young, talented players who are going to have to step in there and get the job done. That’s all there is to it. There’s going to be some opportunity.”
Jeremy Hazelbaker, who replaced Holliday when he left Thursday’s game, may get the first crack at filling the void in left field. Randal Grichuk, who has struggled this season but was recalled from the minors when Adams went to the DL, may also get more of an opportunity to play. Tommy Pham should also continue to see consistent playing time, as he has become a regular in center field for the Cardinals and is swinging a hot bat in August.
Injuries are something the Cardinals have had to deal with all season, so they are unlikely to be fazed by the loss of Holliday. However, it will push back the date when St. Louis has hope of having a roster that’s anywhere close to full health. It will also force Matheny to reshuffle the pieces in his lineup, looking for a combination that can work amidst all the missing pieces.
The Cardinals are half a game behind the Miami Marlins for the second wild card spot, so they are right in the thick of the playoff race. But the injury to Holliday is yet another setback the Cardinals will have to overcome in order to reach the postseason in 2016.