Yadier Molina caught a foul third strike with his thigh (Video)

You wouldn’t get much of an argument for declaring Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals as the best catcher in Major League Baseball. He’s won six consecutive Gold Glove Awards, made five straight All-Star teams, and finished in top five of National League MVP voting each of the past two seasons.

yadier-molina-thigh-catchWith that being said, it’s almost hard to be surprised at something Molina does when he’s behind the plate because he makes difficult plays look like the norm.

On Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, Molina managed to help Randy Choate record a strikeout in a way that was unconventional to say the least. After Nate Schierholtz fouled a pitch, the ball found its way to Molina’s thigh, where it stayed.

Definitely not the among the least painful ways Yadier Molina has caught a third strike.

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Andrew McCutchen wasn’t unanimous NL MVP because two St. Louis writers voted for Yadier Molina

Andrew McCutchenAndrew McCutchen won NL MVP on Thursday, which was an easy choice for most people.

The Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder hit .317 with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases, posting an OPS of .911, all while helping to send the Pirates to the playoffs for the first time since 1992. He also played a premium position — center field — and posted an 8.2 WAR in Fangraphs’ system, which was second in MLB behind Mike Trout. McCutchen was a star player on a team that made the postseason in a year where there weren’t many other standouts in the NL.

Like I said, he was an easy choice for NL MVP … unless you were from St. Louis.

28 of the 30 voters gave their first-place MVP vote to McCutchen. The two voters who did not vote for McCutchen first were Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who both voted Yadier Molina first. Hummel didn’t even have McCutchen second; he put Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter second and ‘Cutch fourth. Carpenter finished fourth in MVP voting behind Paul Goldschmidt and Molina.

Molina obviously is an excellent player. That is not in dispute. I do think that his contributions calling pitches and handling his pitching staff are immense and difficult to quantify. I think he deserved to be third in MVP voting, but not first ahead of McCutchen. It’s also interesting to note the homerism of the situation — only the St. Louis media voted Yadi first.

Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina let popup drop (GIF)

adam-wainwright-yadier-molinaAs if allowing three runs in the bottom of the first in Game 1 of the World Series wasn’t already a bad enough sign for the St. Louis Cardinals, they committed a mistake in the second that seemed to confirm it really wasn’t their game.

Boston Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew led off the second inning with a popup to the pitcher. Adam Wainwright was calling for the ball from the start, but catcher Yadier Molina chased after it. Then there was confusion between the two about who would make the play, and they ended up letting it drop.

GIFs via @BuzzFeedSports, @CorkGaines

Was Mark Ellis tagged out by Yadier Molina at home?

Was Mark Ellis ever actually tagged out by Yadier Molina during Game 1 of the NLDS between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday? I’m not 100% sure, but I think home plate umpire Gerry Davis made the right call.

The Dodgers had men on first and third with one out in the top of the 10th inning with the game tied at two. Michael Young, who entered the game as a replacement for Adrian Gonzalez (who was pulled for pinch runner Dee Gordon in the eighth), was batting and hit a fly ball to shallow right field. Carlos Beltran made the catch and fired a perfect one-hopper home. Ellis attempted to tag up from third and collided with Molina, who held onto the ball. Ellis was called out.

There was a question about whether or not Molina actually tagged Ellis. Multiple replay angles still could not provide a definitive answer.

Below are two replay angles and two freeze frames:

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Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright share intimate embrace

Yadier Molina Adam WainwrightYadier Molina and Game 5 pitching hero Adam Wainright shared this intimate embrace after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Wednesday night. I mean they were a couple of inches away from a kiss there. It’s kind of sweet seeing how close they are. All that was missing was a little Diana Ross and Lionel Richie doing Endless Love.

Koji Uehara and David Ortiz could learn a thing or two from their tenderness.

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Edward Mujica: Shaking off Yadier Molina led to first blown save

Edward MujicaEdward Mujica had converted all 21 save chances he had this season prior to Thursday night. But the St. Louis Cardinals closer blew his first save of the season when he allowed the Los Angeles Angels to score three runs in the ninth for a 6-5 comeback win on July 4. He has an interesting explanation for the blown save.

Mujica allowed four hits and was charged with two runs in two-thirds of an inning. He entered the game in relief of Adam Wainwright, who allowed Albert Pujols to reach with a base hit to lead off the inning. Mujica promptly surrendered a two-run home run to Josh Hamilton, two more hits, got two outs, and then allowed the winning hit to Erick Aybar, which gave the Angels a walk-off win.

Mujica said after the game that shaking off catcher Yadier Molina was the problem. Molina called for a fastball on Hamilton, and Mujica wanted to throw his split-changeup. Hamilton hit the split-changeup out for a home run. Then against Aybar, Molina also called for a fastball, but Mujica shook him off to throw a split-change. Aybar dumped it into left field for the winning hit.

“I didn’t follow Yadi, and that’s a mistake I can’t make anymore,” Mujica said, via MLB.com. “From now on, I’m just going with Yadi. It was a big mistake.”

Mujica’s split-changeup is an awesome pitch and has been his bread and butter all season, so it’s not like going to it is some absurd notion. But both Hamilton and Aybar seemed ready for it, unlike Alberto Callaspo, who was completely fooled by it when he popped out with two on in the ninth. Maybe Molina recognized that Mujica was throwing it too frequently and that he should mix it up by throwing fastballs. Fangraphs says Mujica throws the split-changeup 55.6 percent of the time, and it seems like he threw it even more frequently against the Angels.

The big mistake was manager Mike Matheny’s decision to pull Wainwright. Why send him out for the ninth if you’re just going to pull him for allowing a bloop single? If you’re planning to have that short of a hook, just have Mujica start the inning.

And what does this say about Molina? He has long been considered the best defensive catcher in baseball, not just for his ability to block balls and throw out runners, because of how he calls pitches. This seems to be more proof that he is the best in baseball at his job.

Below is video of Hamilton’s home run.

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Yadier Molina injured after being run over at home plate by Josh Harrison (Video)

During the second inning of the Cardinals game against the Pirates on Wednesday night, Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison was trying to score on a single to right and decided to run through Yadier Molina to do so. While it looked vicious, the play was completely clean. Molina also happened to hold onto the ball and record the out.

As you can see from the video above, the Cardinals catcher was understandably shaken up after the play. The fact that he was able to hang onto the ball after such a bang-bang play (literally) is something to be proud of. The fact that it doesn’t appear he swallowed a wad of tobacco like some catchers before him have accidentally done is also an accomplishment.