We’ve only been blogging a couple of weeks, so it makes sense that we haven’t talked about every Cardinal so far. But a couple of important ones have received barely any mention to date. After the game he had last night, it’s Yadier Molina’s chance in the spotlight.
Yadi was involved in every important play in the Cards 4-3 victory over the Pirates. At the plate, he was four for five, although on base each time:
- A two RBI-single in the 1st inning
- A single in the 4th
- Safe on a throwing error by Andy LaRoche (who he’d memorably see again) in the 6th, later that inning scoring the Cards 3rd run
- A single in the 7th that should have driven in Matt Holliday (who somehow missed touching home and was out)
- A game-winning double in the 9th that drove in Joe Mather (after his memorable steal of second on a pitchout), followed by Yadi’s own stolen base (his 4th of the season, to tie him with Colby Rasmus for the team lead)
Then there was his defense. In the bottom of the 8th, LaRoche singled off Jason Motte. So did Andrew McCutcheon, with LaRoche moving to third base. Out goes Motte, in comes Trever Miller, up comes Garrett Jones.
- Jones hits a grounder back to Miller.
- McCutcheon took off with the hit, while LaRoche hesitated a bit before taking off down the third base line.
- Miller threw the ball to David Freese at third, who threw the ball to Yadi since LaRoche was caught between them.
- Yadi ran LaRoche back toward third base, where – surprise – there stood McCutcheon.
- First Yadi tagged McCutcheon for one out. When LaRoche stepped off the base – though McCutcheon was trying to hold him there – he also was out.
Yadi’s own fist pump after the play is priceless, as is Brendan Ryan’s celebratory jump as he was backing up the play. (See the video of the play here).
Yet all was not perfect for Yadi last night. He wasn’t able to block a wild pitch by Ryan Franklin, which allowed the Pirates to tie the score 3-3 in the bottom of the 8th. Of course, Yadi did redeem himself in the top of the 9th.
And he was highly praised during the post-game show as well. Tony LaRussa said, “He is so smart, in every way – baseball-wise and everything.” Chris Carpenter said even more: “He’s amazing … He is an unbelievable player. He is so smart – the things that he does that people don’t understand. It’s unbelievable. It was another point tonight to show how smart he is.”
Yadi’s having quite a season yet again too, starting with his first-ever grand slam on Opening Day in Cincinnati. He’s currently hitting .313. He temporarily broke the Mets’ hearts yet again during the 20-inning game by driving in the tying run in the bottom of the 19th inning. He caught that entire game, plus the next night as well. The success of the Cardinals’ pitching this season – they have the best ERA in the entire majors right now at 2.72, just head of Tampa Bay’s 2.74 – can be attributed to his knowledge of calling games. He’s thrown outsix runners trying to steal.
Throughout his Cardinals career, he’s been just as valuable – two Gold Gloves (so far), All Star Game starter last year (and no doubt this year, and the next …), all the pickoff throws at first base, that unforgettable homer in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS …
I always love good stories, and the fact that Yadi and his older brothers are all in the Majors, all catchers, all World Series champions is an amazing one. And I’m especially glad that we have the most valuable Molina on our team.
Photos of last night’s game from Yahoo! Sports