6/4/2014 8:54 P.M. ET
Cards open Interleague trip with Holliday at DH
By Jackson Alexander / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny inserted Matt Holliday into the designated-hitter spot Wednesday against the Royals.
The move made sense to Matheny for two reasons: It gave Holliday a day off from the field, while keeping his potent bat in the lineup; it also allowed young, talented outfielders Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras a spot in the order.
"[I'm] also excited to see Randal Grichuk in the outfield and Oscar again ... and try to see what we've got there with both of these players," Matheny said.
Holliday slides into the DH role for the first time this season.
"He's a grinder, he's just a solid, everyday guy," Matheny said. "We know that every once in a while taking a little bit of the pressure off of the defensive side can be enough to maybe recharge."
The Cardinals also have opportunities to utilize the DH spot in Kansas City on Thursday, then with a nine-game Interleague stretch at Toronto (three games) and Tampa Bay (two games).
"We do look forward, more than anything, is getting a little bit of rest without completely taking them out of the lineup -- a guy like Holliday," Matheny said.
Wong resting shoulder; Ellis in at second base
KANSAS CITY -- Kolten Wong won't receive the chance to provide an encore for his milestone performance Tuesday night -- at least not on Wednesday.
Wong, who ripped a grand slam off Royals ace James Shields for his first Major League homer on Tuesday, was not in the lineup due to a jammed shoulder, suffered in the Cardinals' 8-7 loss.
The injury is not considered serious, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Wong could have played, but opted to use Mark Ellis in the lineup.
"There's also days that we've got to keep Mark Ellis sharp, we've got to be able to use him, and these days make it very easy to do that, especially when Kolten is a little bit sore from jamming the shoulder yesterday," Matheny said.
Royals lefty Jason Vargas making the start also worked in the right-handed-hitting Ellis' favor. However, Matheny likened Wong, a lefty, to Matt Adams and Oscar Taveras, two left-handed batters whom the skipper isn't afraid of penciling into the lineup with a southpaw on the mound.
Molina's slump peppered by unlucky breaks
KANSAS CITY -- The Cardinals broke out of a recent slump Tuesday, scoring seven runs in a loss to the Royals, but Yadier Molina remained in his personal slump with an 0-for-5 night at the dish.
Molina entered Wednesday's game at Kauffman Stadium hitless in his last 18 plate appearances.
"He's at a spot where he's just extremely frustrated," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a humbling game, that's all it is, and unfortunately he's not immune to the frustration, regardless of how much success he's had, and regardless of the fact that he's still right around .300. He's human and the lack of positive results is going to weigh on anybody."
Molina struck out just once over his hitless streak and has been robbed multiple times.
"Yadi's lined out to second, he's lined out to right, he's pulled to third one-hoppers that are almost knocking guys over and they're throwing him out at first. He could easily have seven or eight hits during that spell," Matheny said.
Despite Molina's frustration, and the team's as a whole, Matheny has stressed that the onus can't fall entirely on Molina breaking out of his slump.
"He wants so badly to be the guy to put everybody on his shoulders and take off, and he can be that guy, but that's not how we're going to have sustained success through 162 games," Matheny said. "It's going to be everybody doing their part, not just put it all on one guy."
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.