The St. Louis Cardinals' tough past week or so happened to take place while the club was awaiting the returns of sluggers Matt Adams and Matt Holliday. It's probably no coincidence that the team scuffled a bit without those two core players in the lineup, as evidenced by Adams' return on Sunday sparking a 9-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Holliday is on track to rejoin the club soon, perhaps as soon as their upcoming road series against the Milwaukee Brewers. MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch noted that Holliday has been running at a 70-80 percent clip as he works his way back from a quad injury.

Needless to say, manager Mike Matheny is looking forward to being able to field a more complete lineup once Holliday and Adams are full-strength. "We're always excited to see these guys back," he told Langosch. "They're so close. Stay the course. Whatever the medical team is saying, stick with it. But just know we're excited to have you back when we get that green light."

Matt Carpenter agreed, but noted that the rest of the team has to come together to pick up the slack while they're out: "That's one of the things we're constantly talking about -- it's good to have all of those guys coming, but at the same time, you can't sit around and wait for them," he said to Langosch, adding, "This thing isn't going to change collectively until individually we are executing better and doing those things. You can't just hope that Matt Holliday is going to save us or Matt Adams is going to save us or whoever is coming off the DL."

Langosch notes that the Cardinals have gone 48-32 since Holliday went down with the quad injury on June 8, a setback that has limited him to just 11 games since that injury.

At this point in the season, contending teams get a boost when injured stars return, and the Cardinals are hoping they'll be the beneficiaries of a stronger lineup once Holliday and Adams come back on a full-time basis.

(h/t MLB.com)