Molina shows again why he’s one of best in the game
It’s generally not wise to try to run on Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, a five-time Gold Glove winner who gunned down two Mariners in the ninth inning Friday as St. Louis beat Seattle 2-1 in 10 innings.
Molina, 31, has the highest caught stealing percentage of any active Major League catcher at 44.6 percent and he nailed Endy Chavez and Dustin Ackley in short order as the Mariners tried to put Friday’s game in motion with the score tied at 1.
It was the first time a Cardinals catcher had thrown out two runners in the same frame since 2001 when current manager Mike Matheny pulled the feat.
Why challenge Molina? Chavez was moving in a hit-and-run situation with Michael Saunders, who had twice failed to lay down a bunt earlier in the at-bat against closer Edward Mujica.
“We’ve got a 3-2 count there, so we’re going to put Endy in motion hoping Saunders can make contact there,” Wedge said. “It looked like a breaking ball up a little bit. He’s got to put that ball in play, especially after not getting the bunt down. Still, you feel okay with Endy running. Molina did a nice job.”
As for Ackley, after the Mariners outfielder had singled in the following at-bat?
“When you’ve got two outs and a runner on first base, you can’t just sit back and wait,” said Wedge. “You have to try to make something happen. Ackley was aggressive and I thought he had a pretty good jump. But that was one of the better throws we’ve seen this year. That second one was about as good as it gets from Yadi.”
Matheny, a former catcher like Wedge, understood the Mariners’ aggressive approach, even against Molina.
“The game situation really led to that,” said Matheny. “You’ve got a 3-2 count, a guy that might be throwing something slower and he actually did and Yadi still made up for it. I’m sure that’s the same that they’re going to do with just about any catcher behind the plate.”