St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Holliday Leaves Game vs. Brewers After HBP

Chris CornellSenior Writer IJuly 18, 2012

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday left Tuesday evening's game at Miller Park versus the Milwaukee Brewers after getting hit by a first-inning fastball from Randy Wolf on his left kneecap.

The Cardinals clubhouse—via the St. Louis Post Dispatch—listed a left thigh contusion as the reason for pulling Holliday from the lineup.

Holliday had just extended his hitting streak to 15 games last night. He drove home the game-tying runs in the ninth inning off of Brewers closer John Axford in the Cards' eventual 3-2 win.

Holliday was 23-for-59 (.390) during the streak and has raised his average from .215 to .317 since May 1.

He came into Tuesday's game with a line of .317/.393/.512, including 14 homers and 59 RBI.  He's first on the team in hits (107), second on the team in RBI, BA and runs (56) and third in OBP.

The Cardinals outfield has been affected by injuries for most of the season, but it had finally gotten healthy in the brief period after the All-Star break.  

Utility man Allen Craig, who can play the corner outfield spots, had knee surgery in November, which caused him to miss the first six weeks of the season. He then spent another two weeks on the DL with a hamstring issue in May and June. Jon Jay also missed 35 games in May and June due to a shoulder issue.  

First baseman Lance Berkman—who spent a significant time in right for the Cards last season—just returned from surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee. He has been limited to just 16 games this season.

St. Louis is also missing two hurlers from its starting rotation: ace Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia. Carpenter is done for the year because of nerve issues in his right throwing shoulder, and Garcia is on the 60-day DL with issues of his own in his left throwing shoulder. He will be back no sooner than mid-August and could be done for the season as well.

There's no reason to panic yet, as it appeared Holliday was removed as a precautionary measure. But the Cards can ill-afford to lose Holliday's bat. They can fill in with Craig, who is sometimes the odd man out with Berkman back in the mix, or call up Adron Chambers or Shane Robinson in an emergency.  

But Holliday was just starting to hit his stride, and with the Cards struggling to get clutch hits in tight ball games, seeing their big bopper—who is finally clicking—go down is not what you want to see.

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