Robinson Cano hit a metric butt-ton of bombs (32) on Monday night at Chase Field. And he could’ve hit more, hitting the winning home run with a handful of outs in pocket.
Matt Holliday hit, well, decidedly less (7) off of his selected pitcher, Yadier Molina. (Wait, what? Yes, Tony La Russa must have been salivating at the thought of finding another emergency pitcher on his roster. Step aside, Nick Punto. Okay, I kid. It was fun seeing Yadi throwing BP though.)
No matter, as the slugging Cardinal outfielder didn’t embarrass himself, moving on to a “homer-off” with Prince Fielder and David Ortiz – all with five home runs in the opening round – to see which two would move on to the second round. Holliday was the first of the three to hit in both the opening round and the “homer-off” round, arguably a disadvantage because you’re setting the pace. (Yes, I know it’s an exhibition.)
Holliday hit two homers to Ortiz’ four and Fielder bombed away on all five. Exit stage right, Mr. Holliday.
For all of the discussion that goes on every July about whether or not the Home Run Derby exhibition event (Yes, I know it’s an exhibition.) affects player swings as a result of trying to over-swing or upper-cut, Cardinal fans can seemingly take comfort in Holliday’s performance at the Derby. By my count, at least four, maybe five, of Holliday’s homers were the same roped/smoked/crushed/hammered/rocket line drive-type of home runs that jumped off of Holliday’s bat and deposited in the seats quickly. Not a lot of the towering moonshots like Prince Fielder hit, no big looping swings, just same ole’ same ole’ Matt Holliday roping baseballs into the seats in Phoenix air conditioning.
Well done, Matt. Hit one or two in the game tonight. After all, IT COUNTS.