Wants vs Knee-ds

Wants vs Knee-ds: Molina plays all 9 innings as Cards crush Rockies, 11-4.

Tuesday night there was a fight at the batrack at Coors Field.  Fortunately for Cardinals fans, it was in the visiting dugout.  The Redbirds mashed their way back to being lonely at the top of the NL Central, defeating the Rockies 11-4, and taking advantage of a Pirates’ loss earlier in the evening.  Cincinnati beat the daylights out of the Astros 10-0 to keep pace with the Cards, and when it all shook out the night ended with the standings picture like this:

STL    88 – 63     –

PIT    87 – 64    1.0

CIN   86 – 66    2.5

Once again, the Cardinals are in control of their own destiny.  By “simply” winning when they need to, they can take care of business and not have to watch the scoreboard as much as the other two teams.  Though there’s likely to be no shortage of scoreboard watching at all between now and the end for these three teams, given the great race they’re in the middle of.  A little help wouldn’t hurt, though, and right now rooting for whoever the Pirates are playing somehow feels right if you’re a Cards fan.  That is, until the Bucs and Reds square off this weekend.  We’re not yet sure how we’ll be rooting at that point–Friday is a long way away!

But you know who made the last out of this game for the Cardinals?  No, not Seigrist, who does nothing but record outs (as I alluded to last week).

It was Yadier Molina.  Yadier Mo-freakin’-lina made the last Cardinal out in a 7-run game.

“Rest his knee”, they said.  “We’re going to stick to a program to make sure he stays healthy”, they said.

Audry Perez is on this roster.  Rob Johnson is on this roster.  Tony Cruz is on this roster too.  On one hand, I suppose Yadi did just have a couple of days off, with his family issues less than a week ago.  On another hand, you never know how many opportunities you’re going to have to give him a break over the course of the next two weeks.  This team could very easily find themselves playing must win very important games, in which they’ll need Yadi to be at max strength.

Not that the Cardinals can’t win without Molina in the lineup, but recall his DL stint earlier this season–the team just isn’t the same without his presence in the lineup, and behind the plate.  In an ideal situation, there are six weeks of Cardinals baseball left to be played.  Every other position on the diamond has a ‘somebody else’ that could play if need be.  At least one “somebody”, in fact.  Go around the diamond in your mind, and think about the pitching staff and the depth that expanded rosters & young arms afford the team.  Consider all the different combinations of infielders who can play just about anywhere, and the outfield has more than its fair share of options too.  But there’s only one Yadi.  As @YodiMolina might say, “Use him carefully, you must.”

I know Yadier wants to be in that lineup, and the last thing he wants is to sit, but Matheny needs to be the manager, and do what’s smart and best for the team–every player is going to tell you they can go–that’s the competitive nature of a ballplayer.  I’m just Matheny needs to be ok with going against a player’s wishes if necessary.

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