Results tagged ‘ Yadier Molina ’

A very large number of Thursday tidbits

97 degrees at 6:45 p.m. Glad I’m up here and not down on the field tonight. Those of you in the stands, be safe please.

* Raul Valdes was optioned to make roster room today, since the Cardinals added 4 players in yesterday’s trade but traded away only three from the active roster. TLR said they never really considered going to 13 pitchers even for a little while, and that they just didn’t see any way that Valdes should have stayed around instead of any of the RH relievers they have. So they’ll go with one lefty for at least a while.

* As a result of the trade and sending out Valdes, there’s really no long reliever right now. Lance Lynn is probably the closest fit, and they’d hesitate to use him. If there’s a need for a lot of innings, it will be several guys getting an inning or two rather than one person soaking a bunch of them up.

TLR quote: “If we run into a game where we’re behind or ahead by a lot, we really don’t have the guy out there that you say, ‘OK, let’s use him and if he’s not available the next few days, no big deal.’ The reality is we’ll use them all. Try to keep them fresh.”

* The manager said that he won’t be afraid to use Octavio Dotel against a left-handed hitter, despite some ugly splits for the veteran righty.

“I think when he’s close, he’s close against everybody,” the skipper said.

Over the past three seasons, left-handers have a 277/413/584 line against Dotel with 11 homers in 202 at-bats. He has 49 strikeouts against 45 walks vs LHH in that time.

* Meanwhile, new lefty Marc Rzepczynski does not profile as a specialist. “Scrabble” looks more like a one-inning lefty, in the vein of someone like Scott Downs, rather than a LOOGY.

* Yadier Molina gets a night off tonight, but it’s just a night off after three straight games in some serious heat. TLR was asked about maybe playing Molina tonight and Gerald Laird tomorrow, to catch Edwin Jackson, but said he actually wanted to get Molina catching Jackson as soon as possible.

* Lance Berkman is not available tonight, except possibly in a real emergency. Though Berkman said yesterday that he hoped to play Friday, TLR sounded less confident about that. They will err on the side of giving Berkman too much time away, rather than bringing him back too soon.

* In his stead, Corey Patterson gets the start tonight. It’s really the only other option, since there are only 4 outfielders on the active roster right now. Skip Schumaker would be the alternative if they substituted, and of course we’ve already seen Tony Cruz in the outfield this year.

* Ryan Theriot makes a rare appearance outside the leadoff spot against a LHP, batting seventh. TLR on the switch: “His stroke is a work in progress right now. Right-handers don’t bother him. Just right now, his stroke is a work in progress. Could have done it sooner.”

* Nick Punto’s elbow is improving, and he has told the staff that he can play the left side of the infield. However, TLR would still have some hesitation to play Punto at shortstop. Third base is more in play than short, and ideally they prefer to keep Punto at second as much as possible for the time being. They would put Daniel Descalso at short and Punto at third, rather than the other way around, if those were the choices.

* The manager took issue with a couple of ways the Rasmus trade has been presented. I’ll let him speak for himself.

On whether the deal was “inevitable:”

“I totally disagree with that one. … It wasn’t inevitable. We have a chance to win now, and he was the one bullet. If we had different bullets, or they thought it was smart to reach into the system… No. We would have kept him. But that’s how we got the chance to improve. And in the end, the way we get judged is how many games we win. not the sense it makes, which is not really the test. And that’s the reality, so it’s fine.”

And on whether he and his staff push unusually hard for win-now trades and transactions:

“The thing is that supposedly I’m unusual because it’s win at all costs at the Major League level, at the exclusion of other considerations for an organization. Win now, win now. Well, first of all, that’s true of all managers. That’s what they pay you to do with whatever you’ve got. If you’re a .500 club, win half your games. Sometimes the organization decides they’re going to develop. You’ve lost the season and they’re going to develop. You go to develop, and you still try to win the games. So that’s not unusual. That’s what they pay you for, to get wins.

“But the other one that I think is a fair comment, if you ask… our staff and I take a lot of pride in taking the long view for the organization. I don’t think we have ever, ever recommended a move for now that we knew was a detriment to the organization beyond a couple years. … The classic explanation is you’re not going to be here in a couple years, so what do we care if you trade every young prospect? We’ve gotten a lot of points as a staff from Walt [Jocketty] and Mo… I read where Mo said it, that [people] don’t understand how much attention not just myself but our staff gives to what’s good for the organization now and down the road. For years, ‘You can’t trade that guy,’ we understand that. ‘You can’t bring that guy over here, he’s not worth the money.’ How many times have we had a pitcher or somebody establish value and you say, ‘See you later’ because he isn’t worth the money. Puts you in a hole. So that one I think is unfair based on the history of what our staff has done here over the years. I think we’re real conscious about the health of this organization beyond the year we’re playing.”

And, finally, the playlist:

R.E.M., “How The West Was Won And What It Got Us”
U2, “Mothers Of The Disappeared”
Depeche Mode, “Waiting For The Night”
Men At Work, “Down By The Sea”
Radiohead, “Exit Music (For A Film)”

-M.

Saturday tidbits: Scattershot

First, permit me a personal note: Happiest of birthdays to my dad, who turns 70 today. He’s the biggest reason I am a baseball fan, and therefore one of the biggest reasons I have this amazing job. Thanks and happy happy.

Now to the baseball. It’s a steamy hot day at Busch Stadium, with first-pitch temp listed at 95 degrees. Here are some tidbits that didn’t make it into today’s notebook at Cardinals.com…

* Allen Craig will start tomorrow in place of Berkman. I asked TLR about Craig being out of the lineup for two straight days, and he noted that he wanted Jay/Rasmus/Berkman all in the outfield against Wells, and that the heavily left-handed Cubs lineup made it a less-than-great idea to play Craig at 2B.

He also said that Craig’s “leg is barking,” but downplayed it and said, again, that Craig will be in the lineup tomorrow against Zambrano.

* Albert Pujols downplayed his 100th home run at Busch Stadium when he was asked about it this morning. Pujols is the only player with 100 homers at the new park, of course.

“We got the win, that’s the most important thing,” he said.

* I also brought up whether the skipper had seriously considered getting Yadier Molina a rest day over the weekend, and TLR noted the upcoming off day Monday. and that until this weekend the weather hadn’t been that bad. Tony Cruz will probably start Wednesday in Houston, when Lance Lynn is expected to pitch.

* Fernando Salas remains the man they’re going to funnel save chances to, at least for now.

TLR quote: “I think if everybody’s rested, I think he’s got more command of more pitches. But I feel good about Sanchez. If it were the right guys, I’d pitch Motte. Batista’s not afraid of anything.”

* The manager admitted that Skip Schumaker was rushed a bit coming back from the disabled list.

And, finally, a summer-y playlist:
TLC, “Waterfalls”
The Cars, “Magic”
Neneh Cherry, “Buffalo Stance”
The Police, “Every Breath You Take”
Prince, “When Doves Cry”

-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, April 24

Note of the night: It appeared as though we might get a few extracurriculars on Sunday night, but they never materialized. And according to the interested parties, they weren’t as close as perhaps it seemed from the press box or the stands.

When Yadier Molina went deep in the sixth inning, he celebrated with some… vigor. He raised an arm in the air, and he hustled around the bases in a manner that couldn’t help recalling Brandon Phillips’ spring around the bases two nights earlier.

Cardinals fans were delighted, Reds fans were chagrined, and I tweeted at the time that perhaps Molina might ought to hope that he didn’t hit again — the implication being that the celebration might garner him a fastball in the ear.

So, what do you know, but two innings later, Molina faced Aroldis Chapman. And the first pitch from Chapman sailed well in on Molina. Warnings were issued, and anybody with a sense of the recent history between these two clubs couldn’t help drawing some conclusions.

Except… those conclusions may have been wrong. Molina, for one, said he saw no ill intent in Chapman’s pitch.

“I don’t think so,” he said when I asked him about it. “I don’t think so. I don’t know. I don’t think they did [try to hit me]. But if he did do, I don’t care. We got the win.”

TLR didn’t really have much to say about the warnings, though he seemed to imply that they weren’t really shocking to him.

“[Umpire] John Hirschbeck knows what he sees,” the manager said. “This guy is as veteran as anybody umpiring. … The catcher moved in and he threw the ball inside. You can’t read minds. But he had probably the best view for it, and that’s what he called.”

At least one person on the Reds side said they didn’t really take any umbrage over Molina’s celebration, though. And besides, they pretty clearly thought they still had a chance to win the game — loading the bases on a hit-batter would be kind of silly if you were still trying to win. If they thought that game was out of hand, the pitcher likely would have been someone other than Aroldis Chapman.

Is it POSSIBLE that the pitch from Chapman was a purpose pitch? Sure, it’s possible. But based on people I talked to on the Cardinals side, based on people my colleague Mark Sheldon talked to on the Reds side, and based on taking a longer look at the whole situation, my inclination is that it was not.

Stat of the day: Right-handed hitters are 3-for-27 against Mitchell Boggs this year with one double, one walk and 11 strikeouts. That’s a .111/.172/.148 line on the year.

-M.

Tuesday tidbits: No DL for Holliday

Greetings from Busch Stadium on an absolutely gorgeous day. There are almost no clouds in the sky, the temperature reads 63 degrees on the signs in the bullpens and it appears we’re in for a very nice evening for baseball. And now on with the tidbits…

* Matt Holliday will not, for now, go on the disabled list. The club expects that he will be back before 15 days are up, and in fact more than a day or two before 15 days are up. So they’re going to play short in the interim. Holliday has done some running and throwing, and could swing a bat tomorrow.

* Gerald Laird is in for Yadier Molina, but it’s a scheduled day off for Molina. He suffered no significant ill effects from being jammed on a pitch last night.

* TLR said that there are no longer any real plans to go to 13 pitchers for the road trip. That idea was pretty much scuttled when Holliday became unavailable.

* The rotation has been announced for the start of the road trip, and it’s as expected. They’ll just roll the guys over: Westbrook on Friday against Jonathan Sanchez, Garcia against Matt Cain on Saturday and Lohse against Barry Zito on Sunday.

* David Freese may play tomorrow, which wouldn’t seem all that newsworthy except that it would be three straight games — something La Russa suggested was unlikely to happen much in the first couple months of the season.

And, finally, the playlist. It’s a themed one, all Nirvana in honor of the 17th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.

“School”
“Come As You Are”
“Breed”
“Heart Shaped Box”
“Where Did You Sleep Last Night”

-M.

Monday camp tidbits: Game on

* Nick Punto returned to camp Monday, his first day back after having surgery to repair his sports hernia. Punto is walking reasonably well, but that’s all he’s really allowed to do at this point. He also seemed to be in good spirits.

* TLR still seems quite committed to Lance Berkman in the fifth spot in the batting order, and sounds very open to Colby Rasmus in the two spot. Today it’s Ryan Theriot there, but that’s in part because Rasmus isn’t playing today.
* Rasmus and Yadier Molina, two of the regulars not in today’s lineup, are both expected to play tomorrow.
* David Freese, however, is not. Freese will not start any sooner than Thursday’s split-squad game, though he could pinch-hit before then.
* Cardinals players, coaches and TLR met with MLB umpire representatives on Monday morning, a meeting that TLR described as quite productive.
And, finally, the playlist:
Soundgarden, “Pretty Noose”
Rise Against, “Prayer of the Refugee”
Chevelle, “Vitamin R”
Against Me!, “White Crosses”
System of a Down, “Revenga”
-M.

Molina likely done for the year

Yadier Molina has likely played his last game of 2010.
Molina was examined in St. Louis on Thursday for continuing soreness in his right knee. General manager John Mozeliak said that no major issues were found, but that the inflammation in Molina’s knee was enough that the club expects to shut down its two-time Gold Glove catcher for the rest of the season.
“There was no structural damage,” Mozeliak said. “A little inflammation under the patella, so at this point we just plan on resting him. At this point he probably won’t play [again this year].
“The most important thing is just making sure he’s OK, and rest is probably the best treatment for this.”
Mozeliak said there is no reason to think that Molina will require surgery to correct the problem.
“Another way to think about it is, if we were playing two weeks from now, he could be ready,” he said.
Molina has been dealing with soreness in his knee since late August, when he suffered an injury in a game against the Nationals. Matt Pagnozzi has started the last two games in his stead, but Bryan Anderson will see some time behind the plate as well.

Molina heads home

Yadier Molina is traveling back to St. Louis to receive an MRI exam on his troublesome right knee.
Molina has been dealing with soreness in his knee since late August, when he suffered an injury in a game against the Nationals. He sat out two games immediately after the injury, but has played more often than not in the days since. He sat out Sunday’s game at home, then played Monday and Tuesday before the persistent pain led the club to send him home to be checked out.
Molina has consistently downplayed the seriousness of the issue, but it has lasted long enough to be of some concern.
“We’ve been watching it closely,” manager Tony La Russa said. “For him to agree to get it checked, there’s more soreness in it.”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, Sept. 9

Note of the night: Matt Holliday was ejected in the fourth inning on Thursday night after he argued a called third strike, making a bit of a show of it in the process.


Holliday flipped his bat away, walked away demonstratively and took his helmet off before finally flipping his helmet away as well — and that was the final straw that drew the ejection from home plate umpire Mike DiMuro.

I went back and forth on this a little with some people on Twitter, and here’s the truth of the matter: it almost doesn’t matter what Holliday said to DiMuro. You have a better chance of staying in the game if you stand still or walk away demurely while dropping a string of obscenities than you do with theatrical actions like Holliday’s.
In fact, if you watch the video (see the link here), you can clearly read Holliday’s lips as he says, “I didn’t say anything!” after he’s been tossed. But it’s just a truth of the game: making a show of things is a bigger transgression than salty language.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Holliday after the game, but TLR did address the matter, and he didn’t seem too shocked by the decision.
“There’s a rule that allows you to keep a player in the game, and just [fine] him for the equipment. But DiMuro, he’s a good umpire. That was his good call. I know Matt didn’t curse him. He just questioned the call. But then he walked away and threw it. I think there’s an argument that that’s why that rule is in place. You can just fine him and keep him in the game.”
This really isn’t to pick on Holliday, although it may seem that way. Rather it’s to make a point that players know the rules, and fair or not, they are the rules. Personally, I saw the ejection coming, and I guarantee you that TLR and folks in the Cardinals dugout did too. Doesn’t mean it was the right call, but it wasn’t a surprising call at all — and therefore it would seem that it was avoidable.
Stat of the day: On May 14, Skip Schumaker was at 219/296/273. Since then, he’s batting an even .300 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .396 slugging percentage.
Now, those first six weeks did in fact happen. But that’s more than a half season, 90 team games, in which Schumaker is hitting exactly like you would have expected him to hit based on the previous two seasons.
Stat of the day, 2: Since injuring his knee in Washington, Yadier Molina is 8-for-38 (.211) with no walks, three strikeouts and one extra-base hit (admittedly a very big extra-base hit). Over the previous 35 games he had been at .339/.388/427.
Fun with double situational splits: Albert Pujols is batting .387 with a .441 OBP and slugging .759 in night games since the All-Star break.

And, finally, the playlist:
There’s so ridiculously much good music with Georgia connections, I don’t even know where to start. So let’s just kind of go all over the map.
R.E.M., “Pretty Persuasion”
Outkast, “Ms. Jackson”
Drive-By Truckers, “Wednesday”
Gnarls Barkley, “Smiley Faces”
B-52s, “Give Me Back My Man”
-M.

Notes of the night/Stats of the day, Aug. 23

Hello, all…

Back from a great mini-vacation in the Smoky Mountains, and coming to you live from Pittsburgh. I’ve been far too negligent about writing on the blog lately, so hopefully this serves as a nice, meaty return.
Note of the Night, 1: Monday night marked TLR’s 1300th win as the manager of the Cardinals, extending his own franchise record. For some perspective, there are only 27 other managers in the history of the game who won 1300 games total. Of those 27, 18 are in the Hall of Fame. La Russa reached that number after already establishing himself as one of the game’s top managers in two other stops.
La Russa became the 12th manager in history to win 1300 games with one team. And, typically, he brushed it off when it was brought up.
First, he sincerely didn’t know. As he was holding his postgame news conference, he received a text message congratulating him on the milestone. He asked me and Rick Hummel if the stat was true. Told that it was, here’s what he had to say:
“It’s a real nice number. It’s called longevity. That’s the reason for the number. Our fans are not happy with that number because we’re not in first place.”
Note of the Night, 2: TLR reached a round number on Monday, while Albert Pujols got closer to one. He’s one homer away from 400. But he insisted it’s not something he has to work to keep out of his mind.
“You don’t play for numbers,” he said. “It’s a great milestone, but I’m not thinking about it. I hope it will come with a great win with our ballclub. That’s what I play for. I thank God that I was able to hit it today in the first inning, to give a little bit of cushion for Kyle.
“It’s something that, yes, it’s a big milestone, but you get 400, you want to get 400 more I guess. I play one day at a time, one year at a time.”
There’s a pretty decent chance he reaches it this week, and even in the next two games. He’s torrid, and he crushes the ball in Pittsburgh.
Note of the Night, 3: Allen Craig had no warning he was going in to play second base on Monday night. He could do the math and figure out he might be the choice, but it wasn’t like he was given a heads up.
He didn’t mind.
“I was hoping I’d get [a play],” Craig said.
TLR said he had no hesitation to give Craig a look there.
“He’s an infielder,” the manager said. “I played second base, how tough can it be?”
Stat of the Day, 1: Yadier Molina is batting .348 since the All-Star break with a .395 on-base percentage.

Stat of the Day, 2: Matt Holliday has 206 doubles since the start of the 2006 season, the most in the Major Leagues.
Stat of the Day, 3: According to the amazing and invaluable Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, and my hand-calculations based on that resource, Monday marked the 14th game in ujols’ career in which he’s come to the plate needing a triple for the cycle.
He’s had a single, double, and homer in the same game I believe 26 times, but it’s the 14th game that he’s done it and then come to bat with a chance to finish the deal. Three of those times, he’s homered.
Fun with Double Situational Splits: Since the All-Star break, Brendan Ryan is batting .368 with a .400 OBP and a .447 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers.

And, finally, the playlist:
How about a road special for the beginning of a long road trip? And while we’re at it, let’s go 10 songs for a 10-game trip.
Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again”
Black Crowes, “Wiser Time”
Bob Seger, “Turn the Page”
Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
The Who, “Going Mobile”
Metallica, “Wherever I May Roam”
Rolling Stones, “All Down the Line”
Chuck Berry, “You Can’t Catch Me”
Pearl Jam, “Rearviewmirror” (single greatest driving song ever, IMO)
Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, July 27

Note of the night: Lots of apparent injuries and injury scares tonight, but after asking about them all, it sounds like everybody is OK.

Yadier Molina came out of the game early not because of injury, but just because the game was already starting to get a bit out of hand. TLR figured he would “save him some innings” while also getting Jason LaRue a chance to play. It’s a pretty fair guess that LaRue’s next start won’t come till at least Saturday.
Brendan Ryan was struck on the fingernail of his index finger by a pitch, but came through it just fine and stayed in the game. Sounded like it was a nonissue.
Albert Pujols appeared to wince when he ran out a grounder in the third inning, but TLR also said that Pujols was fine. 
“I asked him if he was OK,” La Russa said. “Said he was good to go.”
Stat of the day: Adam Wainwright has allowed nine homers in 72 innings on the road. At home, he’s allowed two homers in 81 1/3 innings.

Fun with double situational splits: Against lefties in night games this season, Ryan Ludwick is 7-for-42 (.167) with a .275 on-base percentage and a .333 slugging percentage.

And, finally, the playlist:
There’s just a ton of good new music out this year, so today’s playlist is a selection of one track from each of my five favorite albums thus far in 2010 (in order, No. 5 up to No. 1).
Sleigh Bells, “Tell ‘Em” (from “Treats”)
Drive-By Truckers, “Birthday Boy” (from “The Big To-Do”)
The Black Keys, “Sinister Kid” (from “Brothers”)
Gorillaz, “On Melancholy Hill” (from “Plastic Beach”)
Big Boi, “Shine Blockers” (from “Sir Lucious Left Foot”)

-M.
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