Three observations coming out of the Cardinals’ loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday night …
WONG GETTING IN THE GROOVE
After collecting his first big league hit Monday night in his 11th at-bat, Kolten Wong admitted a great sense of relief.
He played like a man with no weight on his shoulders Tuesday night. Moved up to second in the batting order as Mike Matheny rested Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig, Wong had three more hits in the Cardinals’ 6-3 loss at Milwaukee.
The rookie second baseman grounded into a double play in the first and had an infield single in the third, a single to right in the fifth and a double to left in the seventh for his first extra-base hit. After five games, he’s hitting .278 (5 for 18) and proving as speedy as advertised with three stolen bases in three tries.
His defense hasn’t been an issue, either, although he could not make the play on a Yadier Molina throw that beat Jean Segura on a steal of second.
With lefty Tom Gorzellany starting Wednesday afternoon’s game for the Brewers, Wong figures to get a day off with David Freese playing again at third and Carpenter back in the lineup at second.
The Braves also are scheduled to start a lefty, Paul Maholm, when the Cardinals return home Thursday, so Wong might not make his Busch Stadium debut until Friday night.
SPEAKING OF REST …
Don’t look for Yadier Molina in the starting lineup Wednesday afternoon, either. Even in normal conditions, he might not start a day game after a night game. But considering he came off the disabled list just last Thursday, the Cardinals almost certainly will not push him.
Molina didn’t take long to reclaim his favorite’s status in MVP consideration (in my poll, anyway). After going 0 for 5 in his first game back, Molina has had at least two hits in his other four games since returning. He went 4 for 5 Monday night and could have been the hero Tuesday night if Lance Lynn had held the 3-0 lead provided by Molina when he doubled and scored in the second and hit a two-run homer in the fourth.
The 2-for-4 showing against Kyle Lohse and the Brewers lifted Molina’s average to .336 and put him back on top in the NL batting race, two points ahead of Braves third baseman Chris Johnson. The two will slug it out this weekend at Busch Stadium.
HOLLIDAY’S BAD LUCK
When the Cardinals left St. Louis, Matt Holliday had just delivered his first walk-off hit of the season to up his hitting streak to 12 and lift his average to .294, his highest since last April. But he did not want to make much of his hot streak.
“Hitting is hard to figure out,” Holliday said. “You think you’re feeling good and then all of a sudden you show up one day, you can’t find it.”
Talk about foreshadowing. In five games since leaving Busch, Holliday has gone 1 for 19 and his average has dropped to .283.
What’s happened? Nothing, really, except some bad luck.
Holliday has hit at least six balls about as hard as a human could hit them and come away with nothing. Three of them came Sunday in an 0 for 5 showing at Wrigley. On Tuesday night, Holliday lined a shot to right field that put Norchika Aoki on his heels, but he still managed to make an over-the-head catch on the warning track.
Since he was put back into the three-hole last week, Holliday has gone 3 for 24. Don’t be surprised if Matheny tries to change the slugger’s luck by moving him back to the cleanup spot real soon.