(BaseballStL) — Michael Wacha has already built a mystique around himself in the postseason. By now, fans can list Carlos Beltran’s October accomplishments by heart. The stadium chants Yadier Molina’s name every time he comes to bat. But the hero of the playoffs may turn out to be someone considerably less exciting.
Matt Holliday has quietly and steadily mounted an impressive October. Friday night, the Cardinal left fielder lifted the team once again, driving in three runs in an agonizingly tight contest.
After Matt Carpenter singled to start the game and Carlos Beltran moved him to second on a bunt, Holliday stepped in with a chance to do early damage.
He fouled off a fastball before ripping a shot to right, scoring Carpenter and giving the Redbirds an early lead in Game 3.
Molina’s single would score Holliday, and the Cardinals would hold the lead until a troublesome sixth saw three different pitchers and a game-tying RBI by Boston’s Daniel Nava.
For 20 minutes the stadium buzzed with anxious energy. Murmurs rippled through the crowd like the wave, and it felt for a moment like the game was slipping away from St. Louis.
Holliday would rise once more in the seventh, again giving the Cardinals the lead.
Carpenter began the attack with a with a grounder to Xander Bogaerts, who had moved form third to short to start the inning.
Throwing on the run, Bogaerts’ toss pulled the 37-year-old David Ortiz off the bag at first. Beltran would reach after being hit by a pitch and Boston followed with a pitching change.
Junichi Tazawa worked a 1-1 count on Holliday before the big slugger scorched a ball down the left field line for a double, scoring both runners and igniting the stadium energy once again.
Holliday has now tallied 16 hits and nine RBIs in the 2013 postseason. He likely won’t take home an MVP, and he may not be the hot interview after any game.
The 33-year-old continues to solemnly go about his business, seemingly avoiding the dramatic moments. Even his towering blast in Boston, the only blow the Cardinals landed in Game 1, will be wholly forgotten by series end.
Never one for the spotlight, the Oklahoma native surely prefers it that way. Still, it seems a disservice to a player so instrumental in what presently feels like the pivotal victory in the series.
The story of Friday may forever be Allen Craig and the obstruction call, but there should at least be a footnote for Holliday. Without him, there’s no drama at all.