(Busch Stadium) As the St. Louis Cardinals close out their homestand with a 12:45pm first pitch against the Cincinnati Reds, Yadier Molina will take his usual spot behind the plate.
Molina leads MLB catchers with 1050.2 innings caught and while an early afternoon game with Luke Weaver starting could look like the perfect opportunity to start Carson Kelly and give him a break, the Cardinals have already done so over the last two games.
Kelly has been able to enter the games late and take over as catcher for a combined 7.0 innings.
“It helps,” acknowledged Mike Matheny. “With Yadi, it’s more on how he’s feeling, how it’s looking then a scripted if it’s a day game. He’s been around here long enough to know what he needs and when he might need a day. We talk about it. I give my suggestions and let him give his input. But a day like yesterday, we can get him out early it certainly makes today an easier conversation.”
Hitting .471 (8-17), Molina is also in the midst of a 5-game hitting streak and leads the Cardinals with 132 hits and 75 RBIs.
Alex Mejia will get the nod at second base.
“Kolten’s getting a day,” explained Matheny. “Lefty throwing, day game after a night game.”
St. Louis Cardinals starting lineup 9/14
Matt Carpenter, 3B
Tommy Pham, LF
Paul DeJong, SS
Jose Martinez, 1B
Yadier Molina, C
Harrison Bader, CF
Randal Grichuk, RF
Alex Mejia, 2B
Luke Weaver, P
ANOTHER BULLPEN FOR WAINO
–Adam Wainwright estimated he threw about 35 pitches during a bullpen session before today’s game.
“He looked good,” observed Matheny, who actually caught the bullpen for Adam. “He got better as he went. A little more life, I even thought his last ‘pen he had a little bit more on it. But I thought it was pretty good.”
What’s next–another bullpen session, pitching to hitters, or other will in part be determined after conferring with medical team.
“Still early to try and figure all of that out,” said Matheny. “Just want to get him healthy and throwing the ball well. Then we’ll figure out how it fits.”
OH, FOWLER, AND GYORKO ALSO GETTING CLOSER
–After playing catch the last couple of days, Seung Hwan Oh increased his pregame workout.
“He threw well today,” said Matheny. “We’ll see how he responds medically.”
Dexter Fowler remains hopeful to return from his left knee contusion for this weekend series in Chicago and while it wasn’t the final test he cleared a pretty big hurdle in pregame workouts.
“Moved pretty well,” said Matheny. “Every time we ramp up the workload, there’s always an opportunity for something to come back physically or respond differently. So we’ll just wait and see how it responds after we turned it up today, but going into today they felt great about him being able to do what he just did–which is a lot of cutting and more full speed.”
Jedd Gyorko has yet to go all out with his running and cutting, but took some ground ball work at third base and remains available to pinch-hit if needed.
photo credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports