Whenever Yadier Molina‘s name is announced at Busch Stadium, the entire fanbase erupts as if they haven’t seen him in years. And it happens at every at-bat.
If the NL MVP vote happened today, it would be a crime not to award it to the heart and soul of the St. Louis Cardinals. Molina has taken this season by storm, ripping his way to a .330 average while maintaining his status as the most reliable backstop in the game.
And that is precisely the cause of concern in St. Louis.
An MRI revealed no structural damage to Molina’s knee, but there was inflammation and swelling. If there is one thing a catcher needs, it’s his knees. The physical toll taken on a catcher’s knees throughout a season is incredibly intense, and even the slightest tweak can completely alter their game, even one of Molina’s quality.
Tony Cruz is a back-up catcher being forced into a starter roll. The end result of such situations is usually not a good one. Molina puts a charge into the Cardinals’ clubhouse that cannot be replicated.
And after two straight sweeps, including a four-game sweep to the division leading Pittsburgh Pirates, the injury could not have happened at a worse time. With Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig hitting a combined .130 in the past 10 games, the Cardinals could use a jolt. Molina was always the man to oblige such a need.
It would have benefited the Cardinals to nab someone like Dioner Navarro at the trade deadline. Obviously he’s no Molina, but he is a starting catcher, and would have at least given opposing teams something to think about in the lineup. With the deadline passed, the only solution is to wait and hope for the best. Until then, the Cardinals will continue to lose ground.
Every fan is holding their breath for the return of their poster child.