08/04/12 8:47 PM ET
Two steals were part of Molina's busy night
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
For the seventh time this season, Molina recorded three hits in a game. He threw out a runner attempting to steal, and he guided starter Joe Kelly through a start that was several times on the verge of spinning out of control.
And then there were the two stolen bases, a feat that, perhaps surprisingly, Molina has actually accomplished twice before.
Certainly not gifted with above-average -- or, some would argue, even average -- speed, Molina has still managed to steal 10 bases this year. That is one more than his previous season high, set in 2009. He's taken those 10 bases in 11 attempts, too, which underscores how spot on he is in picking his spots.
"When they give me an opportunity to go," Molina said, "I'm going to take a chance."
The chances he takes, though, are extremely calculated. Molina, along with the help of the base coaches, gets a read on how long the pitcher takes to throw his pitch. He also notices when pitchers fall into the faulted assumption that Molina isn't fast enough to steal and therefore doesn't warrant their attention.
But Molina has the instincts to make up for that lack of speed.
"He has a sense of what could be there," manager Mike Matheny said. "Every once and a while it will bite you. For the ones that cost us, he way makes up for it. Sometimes people want to make a big deal when one hurts you, but he does so many other things because he's instinctual and not afraid of making a mistake. We keep encouraging him."
One of those errant baserunning decisions came last Sunday, when Molina was thrown out after initially breaking toward third on a ball in the dirt. The mistake was highlighted as the Cardinals went on to lose that game in 10 innings.
But then there have been the aggressive chances that have worked. Both of Molina's steals on Friday drew throwing errors from Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado. The steals also led to runs.
Molina currently leads all Major League catchers with 10 stolen bases and is only the 10th catcher to steal at least 10 bases in a season since 2004.
"He came up like all other young players, not wanting to make mistakes," Matheny said. "Some guys grow out of it. Some don't. You unleash another gear, I believe, when you can do that."
Cardinals celebrate 1982 World Series winners
ST. LOUIS -- Members of the Cardinals' 1982 World Series championship team were feted in grand fashion on Saturday evening, when they gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the "Whiteyball" team that took down Milwaukee's "Harvey's Wallbangers."
Fittingly, the Cardinals' opponent this weekend is the Brewers, who were on the other end of that '82 Series.
"Thirty years, huh?" said Ozzie Smith, who was a fifth-year Cardinal shortstop in '82. "It doesn't seem like 30 years."
Saturday's ceremony began with vehicles ushering former players and coaches in and around Busch Stadium toward home plate, where the 1982 Commissioner's Trophy was on display.
Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog was the first to be introduced in front of a sellout crowd. Smith was the last, and he was greeted with the loudest ovation. Family members of three now-deceased members of the club -- catcher Darrell Porter, pitcher Bob Forsch and coach Dave Ricketts -- were also recognized during the on-field ceremony.
Three players, along with Herzog, used an on-field question-and-answer session with Cardinals play-by-play man Dan McLaughlin to address fans, all of whom received a commemorative Game 7 ticket as a memento of the occasion.
"It is all very familiar to me, all the red," former first baseman Keith Hernandez said. "I always love coming back here. I started out in the Cardinals' chain as an 18-year-old. I'm always a Cardinal."
Highlights of the '82 World Series played on the JumboTron, showing how St. Louis had to pull out wins in Game 6 and Game 7 of the "Suds Series" -- a nickname aptly applied because of the two city's famed breweries -- to seal the championship against the Brewers, a powerful team managed by Harvey Kuenn. Porter was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Series, and it was Bruce Sutter who was on the mound to record the final out.
"It was probably one of the best defensive teams I ever played on," Smith said. "It was a team that had the most veterans that I've ever played on. And [I remember] how consistent we were. In '82, we probably played as good and as exciting of baseball as we had seen in a long time."
As a part of Saturday's celebration, the Cardinals and Brewers donned replica jerseys from 1982 for the night's game. St. Louis will wear another style of their '82 uniforms on Sunday.
Garcia strong in second rehab start
ST. LOUIS -- Jaime Garcia opened his second Minor League rehab start by retiring the first nine Double-A batters he faced on Saturday. This start -- which lasted into the fifth inning -- could be the second-to-last one the left-hander makes before coming off the disabled list.
Garcia was extended to 64 pitches (44 strikes) after throwing about 20 fewer in a rehab appearance with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals earlier in the week. His string of retired batters on Saturday ended when Tulsa's Corey Dickerson led off the fourth with a home run.
Garcia ended up throwing 25 pitches in that inning, which also featured a double.
Springfield manager Mike Shildt removed Garcia, who was on a pitch count between 60-70, with one out in the fifth. Garcia finished with six strikeouts. He did not walk anyone.
Garcia has been on the DL with a left shoulder injury since June 6. He will make at least one more Minor League start before the Cardinals weigh whether he is ready to rejoin the rotation. The Cardinals have not announced where Garcia's next tune-up will come.
Pitching prospect Trevor Rosenthal made his Triple-A debut on Friday with a five-inning start for Memphis. Rosenthal, who pitched with St. Louis before ever pitching at the Triple-A level, allowed one earned run on three hits. He walked one and struck out eight.
Rosenthal, who was optioned to the Minors on Wednesday, will remain in the Triple-A rotation for the rest of the season, unless he is needed back in the Cardinals' bullpen. Rosenthal posted a 2.78 ERA in 17 Double-A starts earlier this year.
A reminder that Sunday's series finale has been moved back to a 7:05 p.m. CT start time to accommodate ESPN's national broadcast. This will be the fourth time the Cardinals have been a part of the network's marquee Sunday night game this year.
Molina entered Saturday leading all Major League catchers with his 42 percent success rate throwing out attempting basestealers. In his career, Molina's has thrown out 44 percent of players trying to run on him. Cardinals catchers have thrown out the last six runners attempting to steal.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.