As the Cardinals return to St. Louis following last night’s series-evening comeback win Matt Holliday will have his hand injury examined by doctors after being on the bench for the first two games against the Phillies.
Holliday was able to appear as a pinch-hitter in Game 1, but struck out on three pitches and Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that his chances of starting the final three games of the NLDS “appears to be diminishing rather than progressing as the club hoped when it placed him on the playoff roster.”
Strauss writes that manager Tony La Russa delayed posting the Game 2 lineup in the hopes Holliday could play, but he wasn’t able to take batting practice and “nagging issues with tendon at the base of his right middle finger are worsening.”
Removing him from the roster is an option that would allow the Cardinals to add another player for the remainder of the series, but doing so would also make Holliday ineligible for the NLDS if they advance. In the meantime Strauss reports that Holliday refused a cortisone injection because he thought it would make him unavailable for multiple days anyway.
Allen Craig will continue to fill in for Holliday, which is a pretty nice luxury for the Cardinals to have.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.