Greg Holland's Cardinals debut could have gone better

Greg Holland is a three-time All-Star closer and led the National League in saves last year with 41. He didn’t quite show that form during his debut with the Cardinals.

The 32-year-old Holland came to the Cardinals on a one-year, $14 million contract, signing days after Opening Day on March 31.  Having missed Spring Training, Holland had to shake off the rust with only a pair of appearances with High-A Palm Beach. He was recalled Monday and soon thrown into the fire, facing the Brewers in extra innings.

Holland opened the 10th with a pair of full-count walks yielded to Travis Shaw and Domingo Santanta. Eric Sogard then laid down a sacrifice bunt to give the Brewers runners on second and third with one out. By that point, Holland had thrown multiple balls in the dirt and his velocity was significantly down from his 93.4 mph fastball average from last season as measured by Statcast.

Just about everyone could see Holland might have not been 100 percent on the mound. Everyone that is, except Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who had Holland intentionally walk Manny Pina to load the bases and face Oswaldo Arcia. The Brewers shortstop walked on four pitches, which mercifully ended Holland’s outing.

Bud Norris came in and quickly cleaned up the mess, but the damage was done. The Cardinals went down in order in the bottom of the 10th and fell 5-4, giving Holland a loss and plenty to work on in his St. Louis debut.

Cardinals reliever Greg Holland is removed by manager Mike Matheny during the 10th inning of Monday’s game against the Brewers. (AP Photo)

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