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.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.