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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

Molina continues to prove his worth

Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012, at 8:24 AM

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina continues to show his team and fan base that he is one of, if not the, best catcher in baseball.

Defensively, few have argued against him being the best catcher in the National League for years. Many years, that argument included all of Major League Baseball.

Offensively, prior to 2011, he would shine some, but not as regularly as one might have hoped. That has changed in 2011-12.

This week Yadi is on one of the hottest hot streaks in baseball. Over the past 10 games, he is hitting a whopping .487 with 3 homeruns, 12 RBIs and 5 runs scored. He is 19-for-39 and pitchers are starting to take notice as they are more careful around him. The problem is, he seems to be hitting everything.

This isn't just about him getting good pitches. This is about him seeing the pitches and knowing what to and not to go after. With Yadi, 2012 is not a fluke. He's not having a short lucky streak that will soon end with a resounding "thud" as so often happens with other hitters.

He has worked extensively over the past two seasons with Hitting Coach Mark McGwire to get to where he is. He has corrected some minor mechanical flaws and learned a lot about patience and that has truly benefited him.

Now, I'm not saying he's going to keep up the pace of the past 10 days all season. But, I wouldn't be shocked at all if he keeps close to his season pace which would have him hitting around .310-ish, more than 20 homeruns and 85+ RBIs. Those numbers would be astounding for Yadi, and he's on pace to do more than that, so I'm trying to be more realistic.

If someone had said that in January I would have laughed, but now...

The sad part is that during his streak, the Cardinals have only gone 5 and 5. Cincinnati, over that same stretch, has leap-frogged to first place and gone 7 and 3. The slack needs to be picked up soon because over the next couple of months we will begin to see which of these two teams is the real deal for the NL Central.

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Tonight, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, I will be again co-hosting the weekly United Cardinals Bloggers Radio Hour with Daniel Shoptaw of C70 at the Bat. Visit the blog online for a link to tonight's program. It will air live from 9:30-11 p.m. tonight, but can be heard as an archive at your leisure. I know some of you had trouble listening last time, here is a link to the show. It will begin at 9:30.

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To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com, call (573)624-4545, or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles



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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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