Dodgers face St. Louis Cardinals and a hot Matt Holliday

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Each of the past two years, the Dodgers’ season has ended in St. Louis. Friday, they will make their first trip of 2015 to the Gateway city.The Dodgers and Cardinals are again in first place in their respective divisions, and a third consecutive postseason matchup isn’t hard to imagine.St. Louis usually features a team of homegrown talents whose cast changes relatively little from year to year. Yadier Molina is still the catcher. Adam Wainwright is still an ace, though he is out for the season with a torn Achilles.Maybe the most intriguing player on the 2015 Cardinals is a familiar one to Dodgers fans. Outfielder Matt Holliday has come a long way since he muffed a fly ball in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 2009 playoff game at Dodger Stadium. Holliday’s .320 batting average is the highest it’s been since 2008, when he played for the Colorado Rockies. His .433 on-base percentage would be the highest of his career over a full season.Last year, Holliday surpassed 1,080 RBIs for his career. He’s averaged 25 home runs a season for the past 11 years, a level of consistency — and health — few hitters achieve.McGwire compared Holliday to two of the best he’s ever coached, Pujols and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, in terms of his mental approach to the game.“Matt’s very strong mentally,” McGwire said. “I can’t emphasize enough how this game is a mental grind. The stronger ones do survive, and the stronger ones you see throughout their career, the numbers are always there.”Also … Hector Olivera played in his first extended spring training game in Glendale, Ariz., and reportedly hit a long home run in his fourth at-bat. … Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Wednesday there is no set timetable for Olivera to be transferred to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. … Yasmani Grandal served as the designated hitter for Triple-A Oklahoma City, one day after he was ejected after being called out on strikes. Grandal is on the seven-day concussion disabled list and expected back Saturday. … Corey Seager went 6-for-6 with six RBIs in the game for Oklahoma City. Seager, a 21-year-old shortstop, had a home run, two doubles and three singles in the game — a triple shy of the cycle and one hit shy of tying a Pacific Coast League record. … Julio Urias underwent cosmetic surgery Thusday to remove a benign tumor from his left eye. The 18-year-old pitcher isn’t expected back in a game for another 4-5 weeks. Urias was born with a benign tumor on the eye, which does not affect his vision. He chose to have the surgery, and the time off will allow him to delay reaching his innings limit until later this season.center_img Holliday, 35, set a National League record Wednesday by reaching base in 43 straight games to begin the season. He has a hit in 31 of those games; in the other 12 he’s either been hit by a pitch or drawn a walk.“He’s always been a very good on-base guy,” said Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire, who held the same position in St. Louis from 2010-12. “He’ll take the walks. He knows how to work the count. He uses the whole field. Once in a while he’ll tap into his strength and hit homers. He’s just really good.”The Cardinals placed first baseman Matt Adams on the disabled list with a strained quad Thursday, which has been reported as a potential season-ending injury.That makes Holliday an even more central focus for opposing teams. He’s batted third in every game this season.“Really he’s just coming into his own, to tell you the truth,” McGwire said. “He’s always had really good numbers, but he’s the main focus there. He’s been surrounded by some really good hitters. Albert (Pujols) was there. (Carlos) Beltran was there, just to name a couple.”last_img

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