Coming off two consecutive seasons that saw his batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage fall, Yadier Molina's start to the season seemed to confirm the fear that the former All-Star's tank was starting to run on empty. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Molina's bat caught fire as he proceeded to hit .365/.398/.529 following the All-Star break. When all was said and done, he'd played a career-high 147 games and owned a .307/.360/.427 line. Such a resurgent season raises the question, just how much does Molina, who turns 35 in July, have left to offer? It's no secret that Molina is at the latter end of his career, and that he's played over 110 games at an incredibly demanding position every season since 2004 doesn't help his case for longevity. The catcher pool is top-heavy, giving Molina an opportunity to finish as a top-10 or top-15 backstop again.
Molina is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Brewers. Following Saturday's impressive performance in which he recorded three hits and raised his season average to .306, Molina will receive a day of rest Sunday. Eric Fryer will take over behind the plate.
Molina is out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Pirates. Manager Mike Matheny will award Molina his first day off in four games after the veteran backstop smacked his first homer of the season in Sunday's game against the Yankees. Eric Fryer steps in behind the plate to catch Cardinals starter Lance Lynn.
Molina is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Nationals. Eric Fryer will step in behind the plate to catch for starter Mike Leake, as Molina sits for the first time this season. The 34-year-old Molina has gone 7-for-24 (.292 average) with a double, five RBI, four walks and three strikeouts through eight games. He agreed to a three-year extension with St. Louis just prior to Opening Day.
Molina is batting third Tuesday against the Nationals. Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals' usual three-hitter, is taking a seat with lefty Gio Gonzalez on the mound for Washington, so Molina will move up in the lineup as a result of his solid start to the season. This new positioning is likely a one-night affair, but it could lead to a few more RBI opportunities for the All-Star backstop if the table-setters consistently get on base ahead of him Tuesday night.
Molina went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and run in Monday's 14-6 loss to the Nationals. The veteran backstop has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal start to the season for the Cardinals, as Monday's production brought his average to .318. Molina has hits in three straight games and five of his first seven overall while also walking four times on his way to a .407 OBP.