Watching the tension-filled Cardinals-Brewers game Tuesday, I was prepared for some kind of fireworks. What I didn’t see coming was St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina going ballistic. The All-Star catcher has been hitting well this season, and has been as stellar behind the plate as usual. He’s been a steady producer in a lineup of big hitters and has been a steadying influence for the pitching staff.
So why did Molina fly off the handle Tuesday night? There didn’t seem to be anything brewing between Yadi and home plate umpire Rob Drake. In fact, Drake seemed tardy in warning both benches when Cardinals reliever Jason Motte’s first attempt to hit Ryan Braun failed.
And the pitch that Drake called Molina out on just wasn’t that bad. In fact, it could have been argued by the Brewers had it been called a ball. Evidently, Molina felt the Cardinals’ pitchers weren’t getting the same breaks their opponents were from Drake. But isn’t there a better, more diplomatic way to handle that?
I’m not sure what, but I believe it was more than just one missed pitch that lit Molina’s fuse. He exploded as I’ve never seen before. And his actions will hurt his team. If Molina doesn’t appeal the suspension, which all players do, he’ll miss some or all of the Milwaukee series in St. Louis next week. If he accepts the punishment beginning tonight at Florida, he’ll miss the first game Tuesday night against the Brew Crew — if none of the four scheduled games in Florida are hurricaned out. At any rate, this is not a time for the Cardinals to lose their catcher.
Molina has been one of my favorite players to watch. He battles at the plate, is a defensive force behind it and has a cannon. But this time, his poor judgment could cost his team. And why? No sound reason at all.