The streak–and the record comes to an end tonight for Yadier Molina. The St. Louis Cardinals backstop will start the game on the bench as the team opens up their series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. His 27 consecutive games started behind the plate is a MLB record for catcher’s 35 years or older.
“As far as the communication with Yadi, it’s everyday,” explained Mike Shildt recently. “Oquendo’s got a good relationship with him, they communicate. Yadi’ll be honest when he needs a day. There’s the open lines of communication with what that looks like.”
Molina shared he wasn’t interested talking about the record, but was happy to discuss the Cardinals turnaround and climb into the playoff race.
“More consistent,” said Molina. “We’re playing consistent baseball right now and doing the little things better.”
Entering tonight, the Cardinals have won seven consecutive series. Overall, they are 11 games above .500 and have won more games (14) than any other ML team in the month of August.
“Yeah, it’s just consistent baseball,” echoed Matt Carpenter. “The pitching’s been good, bullpen’s good, lineup’s been steady, really playing well. If you continue that stretch, there’s no doubt we’ll be playing October baseball.”
The re-vamped bullpen has been key for the team as the combination of Brett Cecil, Jordan Hicks, Dakota Hudson, Mike Mayers, Bud Norris, Daniel Poncedeleon, and Chasen Shreve have logged 49 innings and allowed 29 hits but only 14 runs in their last five outings combined.
“We’ve got great talent in the bullpen now,” said Molina. “Those kids, they’re not afraid to pitch and come in in a big spot and make a pitch. That’s what we’re doing right now–making a good pitch when we need it.”
Both Carpenter and Molina have been on winning teams in the past, but describe this 2018 squad as unique.
“This is a different team, different feel,” said Carpenter. “Most of the teams I’ve been on that we’ve made it to the post season, it’s been kind of a steady climb. This team, most people would’ve said we were dead in the water. Obviously, we’ve made a late push.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry, Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
Today's #STLCards lineup (8/20):
J. Martínez RF
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 20, 2018