Thursday, September 13, 2012

Molina's Mistake

Yadier Molina is my favorite catcher.  No joke, I think he’s great.  I’ve never seen someone fire missiles like he can from behind the plate.  And, over the past few years he has turned into a decent hitter and is having his best year currently with the stick.  I rarely can find fault with a catcher providing tremendous defense and hitting 313/366/490 with a wRC+ of 138.


Top of the 9th in San Diego, NO ONE OUT, runner at second, he drops down a sacrifice bunt.  Good old fashioned NL style smart ball right?  Right?

No.  It isn’t smart or the right play in that situation.  Why?  Well I’m glad you asked.  Here’s the situation:

1) You’re on the road down by one.  You can’t play to tie on the road, you have to play to take the lead.  Especially with as poor and leaky as the Cardinals’ pen has been this year.  If you get a chance to take a lead, you go for it, but not taking the chance to tie.

2) The runner is already at second base, so getting him to third with one out is stupid.  With no outs and a runner at second, the run expectancy is 1.170.  You’re almost guaranteed to score more than one run.  With a runner at third and one out, the expectancy is 0.989, meaning that you are most likely but not nearly guaranteed to score the one run, but a big inning isn’t nearly as likely.  So, you’re wasting a precious out, one of three remaining mind you, for...nothing.

3) Adron Chambers came in to pinch run for Allen Craig following his leadoff double.  That means that even if the game gets tied, you’re down a big run producing bat in Craig which will make it way too difficult to take the lead in the later innings.

4) Molina is one of the best hitters on the team, and it’s a team that is struggling to score runs lately.  Taking the bat out of his hands is like telling one of your great pilots in the air force to become a Kamikaze bomber.  Or like taking the sword out of your best knight and tell him to protect a lesser knight with his chest.

Following the game, Molina and Matheny said that the bunt call was Molina’s.  Matheny said that he has earned that right.  Ugh.  Look, Yaddy, buddy, you haven’t earned that right.  Albert Pujols had earned the right to call plays on his own because he is a no doubt first ballot hall of fame player and hits the ball hard and well.  He has done that for the better part of 12 years now.  You, my squatting friend, have been a good hitter for only 4 or 5 years now.  You have NOT earned that right.  But with the boneheaded moves that Mike Matheny has made this year (might do a post on that later), I can see why you would do that.  But please, grow a brain and never do it again.  I’m begging you.  I still love you, but I might have to divorce you if you ever try something like that again.


  1. Nice article VoL, I understand why Yadi thinks he has to carry this team (it's because nobody else contributes regularly right now) but the bunt was NOT the correct call in that instance.

  2. I pretty much agree with all your blog until I got to the last paragraph. You have gone too far in the chastising. I find the "grow a brain" comment totally unjustified and out of line. It is so far our of line that it takes away from the entire blog. JMO