Matt Holliday on fire since move to second spot in lineup

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Matt Holliday batted .289 with six homers and an .809 OPS through 61 games as the Cardinals’ cleanup (and occasional No. 3) hitter. For him that apparently qualifies as enough of a slump that manager Tony La Russa moved him to the second spot in the lineup last week.
Since then Holliday has been on fire, going 13-for-28 (.464) with five homers and a 1.571 OPS in seven games. Holliday has raised his OPS by nearly 100 points in one week, which is remarkable given that he was doing just fine to begin with.
Overall he’s hitting .308 with a .379 on-base percentage and .512 slugging percentage, which is basically the same as the .313/.394/.515 line he produced last year in his first season not calling Coors Field home.
In other words, despite some gnashing of teeth over Holliday’s so-called slump and struggles with runners in scoring position, halfway through the first season of a seven-year, $120 million contract the Cardinals have gotten what they paid for. And he’s probably not long for the No. 2 spot.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.