Written by Andrew Shapiro

 

The Cardinals head into the All-Star break with a record of 46-40 after

Sunday’s rubber game victory over the Miami Marlins. St. Louis has six All Stars this season, with Yadier Molina being selected but not participating due to his placement on the bereavement list.

Molina’s absence from the midsummer classic is unfortunate because he was easily the most deserving of St. Louis’ All Stars. Molina hit .304 with 13 homers, 45 RBIs, and a .357 on-base percentage, while stealing eight (!) bases, all projected to be career highs. While Phillies catcher and fellow All Star Carlos Ruiz may have a higher batting average, Ruiz is simply inferior defensively to Molina. Yadier has thrown out 39% of base stealers, a mark that is 12% over the league average, while coddling a Cardinals pitching staff decimated by injuries (Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia), full of inexperience (Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly), and reliant on under-achieving mediocre veterans (Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook) to respectability. Lohse is on pace to post career-lows in ERA and WHIP, and career-highs in innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts. Lynn and Kelly had started a combined two games before this season, yet Lynn is an All Star and Kelly held the Marlins to no runs on
two hits Sunday, lowering his ERA to 2.70 in six starts this season. Combine Molina’s defensive skills and intangibles at leading a beleaguered staff with his breakout season at the plate, and the Cardinals have the best all-around catcher in baseball who should have been voted to start in Kansas City.