Matt Holliday is in position to tie a franchise record as he faces an unfamiliar rising star from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He and the St. Louis Cardinals will get their first look at Diamondbacks rookie Archie Bradley in the middle game of this series Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
Holliday has reached base in his first 41 games to move within one of Albert Pujols’ club record of 42 straight to start a season in 2008.
His streak is 43 straight regular-season games dating to last season; Stan Musial has the club record with 55 in 1943. The run is the second-longest by any player since 2000.
Bradley (2-1, 4.00 ERA) was one of April’s biggest stories as he went 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his first three career starts before leaving an April 28 outing with a right sinus fracture after being struck in the face by a line drive from Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez.
The right-hander has gone 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA in two starts since coming back. He was charged with four runs in five innings in Thursday’s 7-6 win at Miami.
Bradley and manager Chip Hale believe he has had trouble throwing the curveball since returning. He throws fastballs 76.6 percent of the time, causing his manager to call him a "one-trick pony." That fastball percentage rises to 82.4 when Bradley is behind in the count.
"It’s just about being more consistent, finding the rhythm I had in spring training," Bradley told MLB’s official website. "Maybe I’ll look at some film of that. Just getting back to being more consistent, getting ahead in counts and not having to work from behind as much."
St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia (0-1, 2.57) is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in three starts against Arizona. The only Diamondbacks position player with more than three at-bats against him is Aaron Hill, who is 2 for 8 in this matchup.
Garcia surrendered two runs in seven innings in Thursday’s 5-0 loss at the New York Mets in his season debut after thoracic outlet surgery in July. He has been limited to 17 starts over the last three years due to injuries.
"I’m here," the left-hander said. "’I’m going to compete."
Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who is 0 for 2 with a walk versus Garcia, hits .400 with an NL-best .771 slugging percentage off left-handers. Goldschmidt is hitting .349 with three homers and 11 RBIs in his last 12 games.
The Cardinals (29-16) have won five straight at home over the Diamondbacks (21-23) and seven of the last eight overall matchups after Jhonny Peralta’s leadoff homer in the 10th gave them a 3-2 victory Monday.
”This is the best feeling that you can feel," Peralta said. "Home run, win the game – the best."
Kolten Wong had three hits to give him a .368 average during a nine-game hitting streak.
Third baseman Yasmany Tomas is batting .439 during his nine-game hitting streak for Arizona, which has won six of eight. Mark Trumbo hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning Monday after going 10 games without an RBI.
”I think we fought really hard against a really good team," Trumbo said. "There was a lot of positives and I think everyone’s actually pretty pumped up about the way we battled."
The Diamondbacks have totaled six runs and batted .177 in their last four games in St. Louis.