How Much Do The Cardinals Miss Yadier Molina?

When Yadier Molina tore a ligament in his right thumb sliding into third base on July 9, the St. Louis Cardinals were 50-42 following their victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that night. The¬†Cardinals¬†were in second place in the NL Central, two games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. They’d scored 340 runs on the season, while allowing 318.

yadiLast night, the Cardinals lost to the Miami Marlins 6-5. Since Yadi went on the DL, the team has gone 12-13 and is now 62-55. At the moment, they’re in third place in the Central — three games behind the Brewers and a half-game behind the second-place Pirates. They’ve jockeyed back and forth with the Pirates for second place since July 29.

That run differential looks a little different now too, as they’ve scored 436 runs this season while allowing 444. Although losses of 12-1, 12-2 and 10-3 in that span will definitely change the look of things …

Now, granted, 2014 Yadi wasn’t quite hitting like 2012/2013 MVP finalist Yadi either. On July 9, his stats were .287/.341/.409 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Decreased offensive production this season, however, certainly hasn’t been limited to Yadi alone.

Who’s stepped up the most in the past 30 days? Interestingly enough, according to the stats on the Cards website, the guy leading the team in hitting in that span is someone who’s only been on the team since July 26: A.J. Pierzynski. In his 11 games as a Cardinal, AJP is hitting .308/.357/.410 with a double, a homer and five RBI. He drove in the first run last night, just before Jon Jay homered to momentarily tie the game at 3-3. Continue reading

Oh No! A.J. Pierzynski … Read A Book?

As we know, A.J. Pierzynski’s reputation preceded him.


Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

He was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox on July 9 — the very day Yadier Molina tore a ligament in his thumb sliding into third base. There was Twitter chatter that the Cardinals should sign Pierzynski once the full extent of Yadi’s injury was announced the next day, yet also much consternation since we also read how much of a jerk he is.

Fast forward to July 26, when he was signed by the Cardinals — at a time when they needed a little spark as they were in a 4-game losing streak that included being swept by the Rays and a loss the day before to the Cubs. Pierzynski immediately made an impact in his Cards debut at Wrigley Field, going 3 for 4 amid boos from the Cubs fans.

He’s now played seven games as a Cardinal, is hitting .320 in those games and was a key part of the comeback rallies in both last night’s and Sunday’s respective 3-2 victories. The Cardinals have won 6 of the 9 games they’ve played since he joined the team on July 26.

Yet now we find out some absolutely terrible truths about him, courtesy of yesterday’s Boston Globe:

Pierzynski preferred to play with his kids rather than make small talk with his teammates. He preferred to read a book on the team flights rather than participate in jocularity.

The horror.

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Upon Further Review, Welcome A.J. Pierzynski

The 2014 Cardinals need some kind of spark — actually, they have for most of the season.

AJNow they’re going to get one, in the form of catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals “finalized a deal with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski in time for the catcher to join the Cardinals today at Wrigley Field” and that “George Kottaras, who joined the Cardinals just before the All-Star break, packed his bags and left the Cardinals after their 7-6 loss to the Cubs on Friday afternoon. The exact roster move with Kottaras was not known.”

To adding A.J., I now say hooray — which is a 180-degree switch from what I said a couple weeks ago when Yadi got hurt.

Yes, I know about A.J.’s reputation and what he does/doesn’t do, perhaps even more than some of you. I’ve listened to The Score sports radio from Chicago for years, and it’s the White Sox flagship station. So I know the ugly and the bad, as well as the good that he can do on the field. And of course none of that has changed in the past couple weeks since he was released by the Red Sox.

But maybe it’s time for Mike Matheny And His Team Of Really, Really Nice Guys to have a renowned jerk among them to shake things up a bit. (Provided Matheny will actually play him, that is — we certainly know how he is with lineups.)

With the way things are going, a new and bold presence on the team certainly can’t hurt. Hopefully A.J. will even help.