Reliever Greg Holland made his Cardinals debut on Monday night against the Brewers, but it didn’t go at all according to plan.
With the game tied 4-4, Holland took the mound to start the top of the 10th. Holland issued back-to-back walks to Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana. Eric Sogard then moved both runners with a bunt. Holland intentionally walked Manny Pina to load the bases, setting up a potential double play and at least a force out at every base. But Holland continued to struggle with his control, walking Orlando Arcia to force in the go-ahead run. Manager Mike Matheny was then forced to bring in Bud Norris to attempt to put out the fire. Norris struck out Brett Phillips and got Hernan Perez to fly out to center field to escape the inning, so Holland was only on the hook for the one run.
Brewers reliever Matt Albers retired the side in order in the bottom half of the 10th to earn the win after having blown the save in the bottom of the ninth.
Holland, 32, signed a one-year, $14 million contract with the Cardinals on March 30, the day after the club opened the regular season. Due to the late signing, he is a bit behind since he didn’t spend spring training with a club.
Last season, Holland posted a 3.61 ERA with a 70/26 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 innings of relief for the Rockies.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.