NLDS Coverage: Don’t Blame Holliday

You’ve all seen the highlight by now. With two out in the ninth inning, James Loney lined a ball right at Matt Holliday. If he catches the ball, the Cardinals tie the series with a 2-1 win in game two. But he didn’t catch the ball. It hit him in the stomach, bounced to the ground, and the comeback was on. A few batters later, the Cardinals lose, and Matt Holliday is the obvious candidate for blame.

But I’d suggest that Cardinal fans go easy on the poor guy. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and Holliday’s not the one most at fault for the loss.

Yes, if Holliday catches the ball, the game is over. But even after the drop, the Cardinals still had an 87% chance of winning the game. Ryan Franklin then took that 87% percent probability and flushed it down the toilet. Walk, single, walk, single, ballgame. Holliday put one guy on base. Franklin put four guys on base. It takes some kind of perverse twisting of the facts to think that Holliday was more responsible for the loss than Franklin.

Or, if we want to look at earlier lost opportunities, how about Brendan Ryan? Three times he came up with a runner on second base, where a base hit would have scored a run that obviously would have been fairly crucial by the ninth inning. He grounded out, struck out, and flyout. No runs would score.

And, let’s not forget that the Cardinals first run of the game came on a home run by Holliday. Had Holliday hit like the rest of his teammates, the Cardinals would never have had a game to lose in the first place.

It’s easy to say that if he would have caught the ball, the team would have won. While true, it also ignores everything that went before and after that play. Matt Holliday didn’t lose the game for the Cardinals – it was a team effort.

We hoped you liked reading NLDS Coverage: Don’t Blame Holliday by Dave Cameron!

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Chun
Guest
Chun

Cardinals fans HAVE to read this piece.
I don’t understand how they can hate the reason that they made it to the playoffs in the first place.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb

Holliday provided the Cards w/ 2.6 WAR since arriving 2 months ago — a great total. But the Cards won the division by 7 or 8 games. Albert Pujols and the great starting pitching — about 25 WAR — are the reasons the Cards are in the playoffs. They’re not there b/c of Matt Holliday. All he did was increase the cushion.

A-Rod
Guest
A-Rod

“I don’t understand how they can hate the reason that they made it to the playoffs in the first place.”

Are you effing kidding me??

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

Well played, sir.

vivaelpujols
Guest

Nobody hates Holliday, we’re just rather peeved he dropped the ball that would have ended the game.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Yes, Cards fans are happy he helped get the team to the playoffs.

But how on Earth could any reasonable person not be just a hair peeved that the guy, you know, botched an easy play that would have ended the game?

Of course Franklin is more at blame… but Holliday simply blew that one.