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.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.
The Blue Jays completed a four-game series sweep against the Athletics on Thursday afternoon and won their second consecutive game in walk-off fashion. Last night, the Jays went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, but a two-run home run by Justin Smoak followed by a solo home run from Kendrys Morales led to a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Thursday’s game was already interesting enough as starter Marcus Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and manager John Gibbons were all ejected by home plate umpire Will Little. Despite the adversity, the Jays battled the A’s, tying the game at four apiece when Morales blasted a solo home run — his second of the game — in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, A’s reliever Liam Hendriks walked the bases loaded with two outs to bring up Steve Pearce. Pearce worked the count full before pulling a fastball down the left field line for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.
Before Pearce, the last Jays hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam was Gregg Zaun on September 6, 2008 against the Rays, per SportsNet Stats.