The Return of Matt Holliday

Way back when, on March 31, 2011, Matt Holliday nearly carried the Cardinals to an Opening Day victory. The $17-million left fielder went 3 for 4 with a walk, 2 RBI, and a HR. Alas, Ryan Franklin blew the save and the Cardinals lost the game in extra innings. Then Holliday underwent an emergency appendectomy. Returning quickly from the laparoscopic procedure, Holliday continued to hit sans appendix. With all due respect to the coiner of the phrase, Dustin Pedroia, the St. Louis clean-up hitter put on a laser show, peppering liners across the outfield.

Holliday has 21.6% line drive rate so far this season, which would be the second-highest LD% of his career, behind the 21.7% rate he posted in 2008. A batter with a career .350 BABIP, the uptick in liners has combined with a bit of luck to inflate Holliday's BABIP to 3.95. (In '08, when Holliday posted a 21.7% LD rate, he had a .359 BABIP.) Through June 2, the day Holliday was placed on the disabled list, he knocked out six home runs and tallied 31 RBI to accompany this ridiculous set of slash stats:

.342 BA / .433 OBP / .542 SLG / .975 OPS / .423 wOBA

One can see how Holliday has accumulated 2.4 fWAR in 180 PA.

On top of blistering the baseball, Holliday has also shown patience. He has drawn a walk in 12.2% of his plate appearances. If he continues walking at this rate, Holliday will put up the highest walk rate of his career.

After missing time off and on due to a quad injury, Holliday's last plate appearance was on May 31, when he pinch hit against the Giants. This season, the club is 25-16 in games started by Holliday and 27-17 when Holliday makes an appearance. The club's record currently sits at 38-29, one nine* games over the .500 mark. In the month of June, during Holliday's DL stint, the Cards are 5-6.

*A good catch by IHeartBoog, catching writing errors as if she had never been away.

The Cardinals' losing June record is largely due to the sweep suffered at the hands of the Brewers, a sweep that has the Hometown Nine looking up in the National League Central standings at Milwaukee and over their shoulder at a Reds team that is a little to close for comfort at just three games back. It is understandably heartening news that the club's All-Star left fielder is eyeing a Thursday activation from the DL. While Matt Holliday is a not a magical elixir that will cure all of the club's ills--the starting rotation needs to improve on its recent performance--the Silver Slugger will be a welcome shot in the arm for a lineup also missing David Freese, Nick Punto, and Allen Craig.

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