Baseball strong: Holliday's bat on fire heading into crucial ser -

Baseball strong: Holliday's bat on fire heading into crucial series

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By Lakisha Jackson By Lakisha Jackson

(BaseballStL) -- Matt Holliday takes a lot of criticism from Cardinal fans. While there's some justification- he's the highest paid Cardinal, he's not the strongest left fielder and he grounds into a lot of double plays- he's also the team's, and one of baseball's, hottest hitters.

Since coming off the DL on July 27th, Holliday is hitting .390 with 12 RBI in 16 games. He currently has a nine game hitting streak, and has collected two hits in each of the last four games. I asked Holliday about being in "the zone" right now at the plate. "Yeah, I feel good," he said. 

"You don't get too far ahead of yourself… you just come in today, try to do your work, get to where you have a good feeling about your swing and go in and compete."

Speaking before the series opener against the Pirates, Mike Matheny said the slugger looks strong. 

"Physically, obviously he's strong but he looks baseball strong," he said. "His bat speed is there, he's taking good approaches at the ball, it looks like he's picking it up well. Things are clicking."

Holliday's hot streak dates back to June 3. Over the last 179 at bats he's hitting .341 with 29 RBI, 41 runs scored and 19 extra base hits. After an uncharacteristically slow start, he has his season's average up to .290. 

"I don't like to get too caught up in what's happened (in the past)," the left fielder said. "I just focus on what I can do today to help the team win and work on it."

Matheny said Tuesday Holliday's desire the help the team has been burning visibly since he returned from the DL. 

"You can see it in his eyes," the skipper said. "He wants to be that guy. He wants to be the catalyst of the offense."

With first place on the line in the series against Pittsburgh, the Cardinals need Matt "The Bat" to stay hot for the next three games. "They're all going to be important," Holliday said. "Obviously the ones at home we need the fans to get loud and get behind us, and really help us these next three games. That'd be great."

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