NLDS: The Legend of Yadier Molina
This story starts on June 3rd, 2004. The St Louis Cardinals’ catcher, Mike Matheny, goes on the DL with a strained rib. A 21 year old catcher from Bayamõn, Puerto Rico was called up for his MLB debut to replace him. His name? Yadier Molina. Later that year the same team has a healthy Matheny back, and are in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox down 3 games to 0.
Manager Tony LaRussa decides to put a now 22-year old Molina in for Matheny to provide a spark to the team. Many Cardinal fans were skeptical at the time, as St. Louis had seen Matheny behind the plate for four years consecutively. Fans undeniably grew to love his outstanding defense and consistent bat in the lineup. Unfortunately, the Cardinals would go on to be swept by the Red Sox. The season may have been over, but because of that moment, the catcher of the future emerged.
The Yadi of Today
Yadier Molina has had a great career that has seen 9 All Star Appearances, 9 Gold gloves, a silver slugger, a Roberto Clemente award and 2 World series rings. St Louis is chanting “YADI! YADI! YADI!” as the man who the entire city of St Louis has grown to love over the 15 years. H steps into the batter box on the brink of elimination down 2-1 in the NLDS. With two outs in the 8th inning, Yadi connects with a base shot just over the outstretched glove of the Braves’ first baseman, Freddie Freeman. This tied the game at 4 and would inevitably send the game into extra innings.
Molina stepped up to the plate again in the 10th inning with his team and city is asking him to be the hero once again. Yadi stepped in and stared down the pitcher. On the first pitch of his at bat, Molina elevated a ball to left field. He tossed the bat into right field. The long-shot wasn’t a home run, but it didn’t need to be. Kolten Wong came in to walk it off and send the series back to Atlanta for game five.
Questions for Game 5
As we go into Wednesday in Atlanta many questions arise. Will we see the Flaherty that gave up one run over 19 innings, or will we see the Flaherty who gave up three runs to the Braves in game 2? Will we see Martinez even warm up if the situation arises for a save? Can the Cardinals get past the Braves and head on to the NLCS? Fans will have their questions answered this evening. The one question that every Cardinals fan is asking is if the Legend of Yadi will grow just a little more on Tuesday.
Author Twitter: @CptdilligafTTV
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