The slide that Matt Holliday made, and I use that term very loosely, could end up having a large effect on the remainder of the NLCS. As the series shifts back to St. Louis, tied up at one game apiece, it would be tempting to think that St. Louis holds the advantage in the series. But I wouldn’t agree with that, in light of the takedown that happened in the first inning of game one.
The slide fired up the Giants, who came back to even up the series. But Holliday’s actions will carry over into game three and beyond. It’s not a question of if Holliday will be thrown at in game three, but how he and his Cardinals teammates will respond to it. But it certainly will happen, and it could set the tone for the remainder of this series.
There seems to be no punishment being handed down by MLB for Holliday’s play, which appeared to be an attempt to grab Marco Scutaro. Holliday was already across the bag when he went for Scutaro, and his elevated right elbow tells me all I need to know about his intent. Holliday can deny it, and apologize, and walk it back all he wants to, but the images don’t lie.
So, will the Cardinals rise to Holliday’s defense when the inevitable plunking occurs? Will dugouts empty, or will retaliation pitches be thrown at Giants players? We’ll find out when game three rolls around. Nobody wants to see a brawl on the field, but there are scores that still need to be settled on the field. And doing this on the opponent’s home field in St. Louis could complicate the issue further.
It wouldn’t surprise me if MLB has told the Giants and Cardinals of its intentions if things happen on the field. And the umpires will be quick on the draw when it comes to ejections, too. They’ll be expected to keep a rein on the game when the time comes. But nobody on the field, or in the dugouts, or in the stands, or watching the game at home should expect the Holliday slide to go unanswered. It’s only a question of what happens next.