The Cardinals continue to fall out of contention in the NL Central and now have to overcome losing catcher and franchise face, Yadier Molina who’s heading to the IL with a hand injury.
St. Louis is a game below .500, 4.5 games back in the division, and haven’t won a series since the first week of May. They went from firstst place in the NL Central to tied for third place in over a month, as all the good mojo the group had built in the month of April was dusted like your favorite Marvel superhero in Infinity Wars.
And to make matters worse, Yadier Molina is heading to the IL after hurting his hand last Sunday against the Phillies. The 36-year-old Yadi had tried to play through the injury, but after reportedly struggling to hold a bat the Cardinals have decided to shut him down for 10 days while he attempts to recover from the injury.
Molina wasn’t adding much on the offensive side of the plate with a .690 OPS and four home runs, but the veterans’ handle on the Cardinals rotation plus his elite backstop ability will be sorely missed. Especially with St. Louis welcoming the division-leading Cubs into town, including Kris Bryant who made comments about the city being boring that seemed to irritate Molina in particular, the Cardinals are in some trouble.
Astoundingly, this is only the sixth time in Molina’s 16-year career that he’s been placed on the shelf, as the catcher has been one of the most durable players of the last two decades. Molina’s timetable hasn’t been set quite yet, but with hand injuries, especially since it’s his throwing hand, issues can linger even after his hand isn’t in pain.
The Cardinals did bring up 24-year-old rookie catcher Andrew Knizer to take Molina’s roster spot, but veteran backstop Matt Wieters has quietly had a nice season in a bench role with 3 home runs and1.155 OPS. The combination of Knizer, who has five homers himself, and Wieters might be enough to survive a few weeks without Molina, but the Cardinals losing their franchise player for an extended period of time is never good.