When I first heard about the Matt Holliday trade, I wasn't sure what to think. Is it a good idea for the Cardinals to give up all of their top prospects for a guy who will probably only be on the team for half of a season?
However, after watching St. Louis dish out a non-stop stomping to the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies tonight, I am willing to admit that I was wrong. Getting Matt Holliday without losing Colby Rasmus was the smartest thing this team could have possibly done.
Pujols finally has the insurance that he needs, and the Cardinals finally have another legitimate slugger on their team. Now St. Louis looks like a team that is serious about making it to the playoffs and spending the money it takes to do so. In the span of 48 hours, the Cardinals have transformed from a team that probably wouldn't win its division to possibly the most intimidating team in baseball.
The game at Citizens Bank Ballpark featured rain delays, but seemingly nothing could stop the rampaging offense of the Redbirds. New acquisitions Matt Holliday and Julio Lugo were largely responsible for the 8-1 St. Louis victory. Holliday put on quite a show, going 4 for 5, with a run scored and one RBI. Lugo went 2 for 5 and scored twice, including a solo home run. Even the normally terrible Rick Ankiel has hit well the last couple of days, going 3 for 4 tonight, and driving in Holliday's first run.
Joel Pineiro pitched as strongly as he ever has, throwing six shutout innings. The Cardinals' relief pitching was a little awkward in this game, but to be fair, they only allowed one run; an admirable feat against the usually tough Phillies lineup. The fielding in the game was also a little sloppy on the wet Philadelphia field. As hot as the Cardinals' offense seems right now, small mistakes and slight misplays aren't going to make much of a difference.
If this success continues, the prospects for St. Louis's success have greatly improved. They are still atop the National League Central by one and a half games. Barring any major injuries or catastrophes, this is shaping up to be a very satisfying season for Cardinals' fans.