Yadi Being Yadi: Yadier Molina is Mr. Clutch

By Craig Phelps

St. Louis, Mo – The ladies of St. Louis swoon at the very mention of his name.  Their knees buckle as they faint at the sight of him while gentlemen try to figure out this strange obsession with the Cardinals starting catcher.  Whatever it is that forces girl’s heard to skip a beat over Yadier Molina, guys certainly do respect his playing ability.

Molina’s defensive ability has long been acknowledged as is evident by his four consecutive gold gloves.  With that being said, his bat is just now in the starting phases of being the recipient of the respect of which it rightfully deserves. Yadi led the team in batting average (.305) last season during the Cardinals historic run to the teams 11th World Series title and he’s still hitting over the .300 mark half-way into May in 2012.

Over his career nine year career, including this season, Yadi has been an impeccable hitter in clutch situations.  With two outs and runners in scoring position, Molina has hit .290 with 149 RBI’s, 7 homeruns, and 16 doubles in 400 at-bats while also drawing an additional 58 walks and being hit by two pitches.  He has an on-base percentage of .472 with runners on second and third with two outs in his career.  When the bases are loaded with no outs to spare Yadi manages to hit .295 and has driven in 30 runs in 44 at-bats.

So why all of this “Yadi! Yadi! Yadi!” love?

With two outs and David Freese on second in a tie, 6-6 ball game against the Chicago Cubs on a bright Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Molina did it again.  A groundball single to the right of a diving second baseman, Darwin Barney, brought Freese home and prevented the Cardinals from going winless in their last five games.

Molina is batting .310 over his career when the Cardinals emerge victorious.  However, Yadi’s ability at the plate goes far beyond the swing of his bat.  He has drawn 166 walks while striking out 174 times (a .954 walk to strikeout ratio) in wins.  He consistently goes deep into counts to, harassing pitchers into either making a mistake that he can hit or drawing the walk.

While it may still be a mystery as to why girls turn all school-girl giddy over the very thought of Yadier Molina, there is no wonder why Cardinals fans as a whole love and respect him.

He is, simply put, too clutch for words; something he showed again Tuesday afternoon.

Quick Hitters

Jon Jay on DL – Jon Jay re-entered the 15-day disabled list yesterday with soreness in his right shoulder.  Jay was the victim of a separated shoulder when he ran into the outfield wall chasing a homerun ball back on April 19th.  Shane Robinson has been called back up to the major leagues after spending a single game at Triple-A Memphis.

Beltran’s Knee an Issue – Cardinals fans have two great players and either “Hall of Fame” or “Hall of Very Good” caliber players in Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran.  The issue is that the two aforementioned players have reached the closing twilight years of their career.  Berkman is in need of constant days and/or innings of rest and Beltran appears to be in the same boat.  Last week’s NL Player of the Week is facing pain in his surgically repaired right knee.  While the DL is not a likely landing spot for Beltran, the surplus of versatile Cardinals defenders will  certainly come in handy to offer him a few days of rest.

Craig the Great – Allen Craig is hitting .404 this season with 18 RBI’s, 5 homeruns, and 5 doubles.  That average is bumped up to .500 with seven of those RBI’s and two of the homeruns coming over the past five games and 20 at-bats for the 27 year old California native.

San Fran Tram – The Cardinals start the first of a two game series against the San Francisco Giants tonight.  Jamie Garcia (2-2) and Adam Wainwright (2-4) will take on Madison Bumgarner (5-2) and Matt Cain (2-2) respectively.  The Cardinals are 1-4 in their last two series and have been outscored by the Diamondbacks and Cubs by a combined total of a total of 11 runs.  The Cardinals had not been outscored in any of their 11 series including the one-game series against the Miami Marlins to start the season; St. Louis and the Houston Astros both scored 14 runs when they met up for a three-game series from May 5th to May 6th.  Tonight’s game starts at 9:15 Central on Fox Sports Midwest and 1120 KMOX.

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