Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spending the Hollidays in St. Louis

Manny helped the Dodgers last year. Teixeira helped the Angels. And now Holliday is going to help the Cardinals. We all knew it was coming. Speculation concerning Holliday and Halladay have been swirling for weeks. Certainly his teammates weren't surprised. The Cardinals, who though imperfect, were already on track to win the division. But recent surges by the Astros and more life in the Cubs (and Milwaukee isn't out of it) seemed to give more impetus to getting a bat to hit behind and protect Albert Pujols. Holliday should fill that spot perfectly.

And the Cardinals are getting Holliday at just the right time. Holliday really struggled early in the year. It seems that he spent some time in the off season working with Mark McGwire, who got Holliday to do away with his leg kick with his front leg as he was driving into the ball. McGwire seems like a great guy and players are drawn to him, but once Holliday went back to the leg kick, his whole season went into a leg kick.

The first three months of the season, Holliday's Slugging Percentage showed: .360, .456 and .440. His Slugging Percentage has skyrocketed in July to .574. And something else is impressive about Holliday. Most guys who get traded seem to take a couple to three days to get to their new team. Holliday hopped on a plane immediately and was in the Cardinals' lineup tonight. How did he do? He went four for five with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Not a bad start. He also stole a base.

The Cardinals' other new player, Julio Lugo, abandoned by the Red Sox and needing a new home to possibly ressurrect his career, went two for five with a homer, two runs scored and an RBI. The Cardinals seem to have enough pitching (Pineiro was great again tonight), but their offense was really struggling. Eight runs tonight against a pitcher who was 7-0, seems (sure, it's only one game) to show that they have fixed that problem.

Give the Cardinals credit. They made the right moves and rented Holliday for a few months to get them where they need to go. Oakland, on the other hand, though they are happy for their now ex-teammate, have to be bumming. And it showed in their game against the Yankees.

Against the Yankees, the A's looked flat and listless. They only managed three hits against Joba and allowed two runs to score on a throwing error. Johnny Damon drove in two runs with ground outs. And this was a team, who with Holliday, that overcame a ten run deficit earlier in the week against the Twins and just pummeled that team from Minnesota.

But that's the way it goes. When you're in last place, you're going to lose your spare parts, especially with Billy Beane who will always trade what he has for young prospects. It's the way of the world. The A's have to live through the rest of the year with a patchwork offense with hopes for the future. The Cardinals are delighted to have Holliday (and Lugo) and seem poised to be the best team in their division.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

The NL Central division race is over. DeRosa alone was probably enough to put the Cards over the top. Holliday ensures them a division title. Meanwhile, Jim Hendry is doing what exactly? Lilly's injury has been downplayed. I think he'll be out for basically the rest of the season. Dempster's still out. The Cubs are in serious danger of becoming irrelevant.