St. Louis Cardinals

Will Molina be gold standard once again? Stats could work against him

Catcher Yadier Molina could be denied a ninth consecutive Gold Glove because St. Louis Cardinals pitchers have been ineffective at holding baserunners and have worked slow to the plate.

Molina, 34, had thrown out just 16 of 77 attempted basestealers (21 percent) entering Wednesday. The league average is 27 percent.

“I can’t say what other managers and coaches (think),” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the voters for the Gold Gloves. “That’s what I love about that award. It’s the impact. I would hope they would see – and they have, I know they have – the impact he has on the game and on our team and on the league by how he defends.”

The 77 attempts against Molina are a career-high and are 31 more than the previous high of 46 set in 2011. Molina has thrown out 42 percent of attempted basestealers in his career, including a high of 64 percent (25-for-39) in 2005. Molina gunned down 54 percent (27-for-50) in 2007, 49 percent (33-for-68) in 2010 and 48 percent (21-for-44) in 2014.

“His numbers are down,” acknowledged Matheny, who won four Gold Gloves in his career. “(They’re) not the lowest in the league, by any means, and he’s made good throws. So that sort of thing bears some weight. But I don’t think that’s the whole story.”

Basestealers are 15-for-19 (79 percent) against Mike Leake. They also have thrived against starters Jaime Garcia (14-for-20, 70 percent), Carlos Martinez (9-for-12, 75 percent) and Michael Wacha (6-for-8, 75 percent), and against relievers Jonathan Broxton (6-for-7, 86 percent) and Kevin Siegrist (6-for-6).

“Everything can be worked on and improved,” Matheny said. “It’s got to be worked on consistently from the offseason through spring training. Guys can make adjustments like that. Most of it is the want-to. You’ve got to have the desire to shut down the running game.

“If you’re able to compartmentalize with controlling the running game, and while you’re doing that, still focusing on making good pitches, that’s what’s expected of all our guys. Most of the really good pitchers in this league ... they’re all really quick to the plate, they all somehow shut down good basestealers and don’t give up the easy bases. It’s not rocket science.”

Molina, trying to hit .300 for the fifth time in his career, exceeded his previous career-high in innings caught Wednesday. He is approaching 1,200, which leads the major leagues.

“Workload says a lot about the value of a guy,” Matheny said. “That says something, obviously. He’s done exceptionally well to be able to handle (it) and keep going out there and figuring out a way to be an impact player on the field.”

Matheny maintained that Molina remains “the standard.” He said he will be disappointed if Molina doesn’t win the Gold Glove.

“But there are some other guys in the league, too, that are having good seasons that people are going to be just as adamant about and have have some good statistics also,” Matheny said. “It’s going to come down to what people see and how these coaches and managers feel about different statistics and, more importantly, what they see.”

David Wilhelm: 618-239-2665, @DavidMWilhelm

Reds 2, Cardinals 1

Adam Duvall’s two-run bloop single against Mike Leake in the third inning Wednesday gave Cincinnati the only offense it needed. The Cardinals failed to score in the eighth despite having runners at second and third with one out, and in the ninth after a leadoff triple by pinch-hitter Kolten Wong.

By the numbers

The Cardinals fell 2 1/2 games behind the New York Mets, who lead the wild-card race. They slipped 1 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants, pending the result of the Giants’ home game against Colorado late Wednesday. ... Leake (9-12) allowed five hits in five innings, walked none and struck out six. ... Anthony DeSclafini (9-5) was the winner for Cincinnati, allowing one run on six hits in six innings, with two walks and three strikeouts. ... The Cardinals’ only run scored in the fifth when pinch-hitter Matt Adams rolled into a double play. ... Raisel Iglesias pitched the eighth and ninth to post his fifth save for the Reds.

Up next

Alex Reyes (4-1, 1.58 ERA) vs. Dan Straily (14-8, 3.74 ERA), 6:15 p.m. Thursday.