The MLB All-Star Game differs from games like these in other sports because tonight is not merely an exhibition. The winner matters, and tonight we will know which league has home-field advantage in the World Series. Between the two leagues, the National League is suffering from more injuries to top players. In addition to replacing homerun machine Giancarlo Stanton, the NL will also be without seasoned slugger Matt Holliday. Holliday is working his way back from a quad injury he suffered in the field in June.
How Did Matt Holliday Get Injured?
Matt Holliday injured his quad on June 8th while playing left field against the Colorado Rockies. Holliday got his cleat stuck while chasing a short fly ball, stumbling and falling on his way to attempting to make a catch. Holliday stayed on the ground for several minutes and exited the game with the training staff. Trainers ruled the next day Holliday suffered a Grade 2 quadriceps strain. Before the injury Holliday was a rock in the Cardinals lineup, hitting .303 for the season. It wasn’t a big surprise he was named to his 7th All-Star team, but Holliday’s absence makes room for younger players. The 35 year-old should be ready to return as soon as next weekend, but wanted the extra break to make sure he is fully healed and ready for the second half.
While upsetting for Holliday, the Cardinals have not been troubled by the injury. They are ranked first in ESPN’s latest power rankings, and should be ready to contend for a championship (again) in the fall. Randal Grichuck hasn’t replaced Holliday at the plate, but has performed well enough in left field to mitigate Holliday’s injury.
His Replacement: Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers
While Matt Holliday can’t take the field for his 7th All-Star Game, it opens the door for Joc Pederson to make his debut. The lefty made a big splash in the Home Run Competition, making it to the final before losing to Todd Frazier. Pederson will start in LF and bat eighth in the starting lineup.
Just because he was added for injury purposes doesn’t mean Pederson doesn’t deserve to go to Cincinnati. The 23 year-old is sixth in the NL with 20 homers and has a solid .851 OPS in his first full season with the club.