In the constant quest for balanced
coverage, a day after poking
at the lack of productivity from the number six spot in the St. Louis Cardinals batting order, it is worth noting that catcher Yadier Molina came through again on
Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. Both of his recent night heroics came while
Molina’s two-run single in the
sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie, powering St. Louis to a 5-4 win over the visiting
Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. It was the second consecutive night that the native of
Puerto Rico drove in the go-ahead runs.
After the Braves intentionally
walked red-hot Colby Rasmus with
first base open in the eighth inning of Monday’s series-opening tie game, the
Cardinals catcher made them pay. His run scoring double to left-center field plated the
eventual winning run in the 4-3 victory.
As Molina collected his
12th and 13th RBIs of the month (and season) Tuesday
night, it officially became his biggest April of his six seasons as a major
leaguer. In 2009, Molina accumulated 12 RBI on the way to 54 that year, second
only to his career-best 56 in 2008.
With just one more RBI in the next
three games, Molina will tie for the second-most RBI by a Cardinals catcher in
April since at least 1952.
Of course, the gold standard for
Louis backstops was Ted Simmons. “Simba’s” modern club
record of 20 April RBI set back in 1977 appears safe.
by Cardinals catcher during April (1952 though
was not known for his offense, Molina’s hot start also eclipsed several other
famous catchers’ best first months of the season as Cardinals, including
(1970) and Tim
From a career perspective, despite
being just 27 years of age, Molina is already sixth on the club’s list of most
RBI by a catcher. With an average 2010, Molina should pass Jimmie Wilson and Tom Pagnozzi to rank fourth all-time by
the end of the season.
RBI by Cardinals catcher,
Though he did not enjoy as fast of
a start in April as others noted above, when discussing Cardinals catchers, the
late Darrell Porter deserves note,
as well. Porter, who played with St. Louis from
1981 through 1985, had the unenviable job of replacing the popular Simmons,
traded to Milwaukee in December 1980, and became an
important part of Whitey Herzog’s
first two National League pennant-winning clubs and the 1982 World Champions.
Porter offers Molina a target in
2010 as he registered the top two RBI seasons by a St. Louis catcher in the
Note that due to pinch-hitting and
well as playing at other positions, not all the RBIs of these catchers were
accumulated while they were in the game as assigned behind the plate.
RBI by Cardinals catcher, season,
Special thanks to statistician Tom
Orf for teeing up the data tables shown above.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Brian pens a column each Wednesday at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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