With all the negativity from last night’s tough loss, we still must find time to appreciate Yadier Molina’s unlikely on-base streak.
On April 22nd, I wrote a piece about Yadier Molina getting off to a hot start in the season. At that point, he was batting .345 (19-45) and he looked like one of the most consistent hitters on the team. However, near the end of my piece, I cautioned readers that the hot start would likely come to an end soon as Molina is a lifetime .283 hitter and has always been known for his defense, not his offense.
And my prediction came true. Today, Molina is batting .281 on the season, only marginally below his career average.
However, since the All-Star Break, Molina has been on fire. Perhaps it is the motivation from not making his first All-Star game since 2008 or the extra rest he got from the week off, but since then Molina has been all business.
In the 21 games since the break, Molina has had a hit in 19 of those games. He has also been batting a blistering .378 (31-82). He is also currently holds a 23 game on-base streak. Absolutely incredible for a 34 year old playing the most physically taxing position in baseball. He is also well on his way to his 9th consecutive Gold Glove with 1 error in 856 innings.
Yadier Molina since the All-Star Break (21 games): .364 AVG/.410 OBP/.558 SLG/.968 OPS with 28 hits and 9 doubles. pic.twitter.com/F9Ch7DFrej
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 11, 2016
Last night, Molina was one of the bright spots in the game for the Cardinals, leading the way with 3 hits in 5 at-bats.
Like my earlier piece, I will give the same advice: appreciate Molina while we can because his days are dwindling.
This year, Molina is on pace to surpass his career high in games played in a season, according to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. Molina is on pace to start 139 games, surpassing his previous career high of 136 (2009). With Brayan Pena on the DL for the foreseeable future and Alberto Rosario not providing much more than a game every two weeks, the Cardinals don’t have much of a choice other than to start Molina if they want to stay in the NL Wild Card hunt.
For a player who was never a great hitter even at his prime, no reasonable Cardinals fan can expect this level of success to continue. However, for now, it is a pleasant surprise when our #5 hitter can reach base consistently.
Instead of focusing on the dark cloud that seems to loom over this Cardinals team, we should instead pay attention to the good things that are happening. For now, it is appreciating the greatness of Molina.