Cards’ Grichuk figures to get another opportunity with Holliday hurt
CHICAGO — Both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs will be filling injury-created holes Friday when they continue their series at Wrigley Field.
In the series opener on Thursday, Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday had his right thumb fractured when it was hit by a pitch from Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery in the 10th inning.
Holliday was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game, a 4-3 Cubs victory that was Chicago’s 10th win in a row.
Earlier Thursday, the Cubs placed right-handed reliever Pedro Strop on the DL after an MRI revealed a meniscus tear in his left knee, while the Cardinals put first baseman Matt Adams on the DL due to left shoulder inflammation.
Strop, who was hurt late in the Cubs’ 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, is due to undergo surgery Friday, and he will be sidelined four to six weeks.
He was hurt while the Cubs are also dealing with reliever Hector Rondon’s sore triceps, which has left him sidelined this week.
Rondon, who has a 1.70 ERA, last appeared on Aug. 4, when he earned a hold in the Cubs’ 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins.
"His triceps have come up a little bit sore, so I try to avoid him right now," manager Joe Maddon said earlier this week. "Nobody in the training room feels anything is seriously wrong by any means. It’s just being careful right now."
Maddon said Thursday that right-hander Joe Smith likely would pick up more late-inning work in Strop’s absence. Smith was acquired in a trade with the Angels just before the Aug. 1 deadline.
To help fill out the bullpen, the Cubs recalled right-hander Justin Grimm from Triple-A Iowa. Grimm threw a scoreless eighth inning Thursday night, lowering his major league ERA for the season to 4.46 in 47 appearances.
The Cardinals’ likely outfield replacement for Holliday returned from the minors before Thursday’s game when Randal Grichuk was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. In two stints at Memphis this season, Grichuk has hit .272 with six homers and 18 RBIs over 23 games.
Seeing immediate action, Grichuk homered as a seventh-inning pinch hitter Thursday night. It was his third career pinch-hit home run. He raised his major league average to .219, while hitting his 13th homer and collecting his 36th RBI.
"He had some great at-bats while he was down there (at Memphis), and it’s just a matter of trying how to figure out how to translate that," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Whether it’s defensively or offensively, we need for him to be able to get over that hump to where he can figure out how to be a little more consistent."
If he produces, Grichuk could offset the power lost by the Holliday injury. Holliday has a .242 average, 19 home runs and 60 RBIs.
Grichuk took the roster spot of Adams, who is batting .249 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 95 games.
For the Thursday night game, Matt Carpenter moved across the infield to Adams’ first base spot. Brandon Moss and Jedd Gyorko have also spent time at first this season.
While the teams may be ailing in other areas, the Friday starting pitchers are reliable workhorses. St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright (9-6, 4.34 ERA) will oppose Chicago right-hander Jake Arrieta (13-5, 2.59 ERA).
Wainwright is 13-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 30 career starts against the Cubs, with the victory total the most by any active pitcher against Chicago. In his two outings vs. the Cubs this year, on May 23 and June 21, Wainwright is 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA.
He was 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA over a six-start span before getting hit hard Sunday against Atlanta. The Braves scored six runs on nine hits in six innings en route to a 6-3 victory.
Arrieta is 5-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 11 career regular-season starts against St. Louis. He faced the Cubs on May 25 and June 22, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
In his most recent outing, he fired eight shutout innings Saturday in a 4-0 win over the A’s in Oakland. It was Arrieta’s first victory since June 27 after five consecutive winless starts.