Yadier Molina will catch his 2,000 game for the St. Louis Cardinals when they host the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
Molina will become the sixth catcher in major league history to reach that plateau — and the first to do it with one team.
“You put 2,000 games into the context of a 162-game regular season and you say, ‘OK, if he caught every single game, how many years would that be, and you go whoa,’ ” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “That’s amazing.”
Shildt marveled at the mental and physical toughness needed to catch that many games. Also, he had to play very well to get those opportunities.
“Anything that has longevity behind it speaks to performance,” Shildt said. “Let’s don’t kid ourselves, this is a performance-driven game. This guy has been a high performer on multiple parts of baseball — defensively, offensively.”
Shildt gave Molina the night off Tuesday as the Cardinals rolled to a 14-3 victory. That set him up to catch his long-time battery mate Adam Wainwright in this afternoon game.
“He’s gone 10 in a row,” Shildt said of Molina. “We’ve had some off days sprinkled, which have clearly helped. We have a 12:15 game (Wednesday). So it was really was (play) one of the two. So he’ll grab his brother Waino (Wednesday).”
Wainwright (0-1, 8.22 ERA) will make his third start for the Cardinals. In his last outing, he held the Milwaukee Brewers to one run in five innings while striking out six batters during the team’s home opener.
In his career, he is 10-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 17 games against the Nationals, including 15 starts.
Former Pirates Josh Bell (7-for-23, double, homer, five RBIs) and Josh Harrison (11-for-31, two doubles, homer, three RBIs) have had some success against Wainwright in their career.
The Nationals, who have lost six of eight games this season, are scheduled to counter with starting pitcher Joe Ross (0-0, 0.00 ERA). He’s had to scrape off some rust after opting out of the 2020 season due to his concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just hadn’t really pitched in a while,” Ross said. “I was getting built up in spring training. But I think with our extended time off and the length of a full season, hopefully I build up and feel more comfortable going deeper, later in the game.”
In his only start this season, Ross threw five scoreless innings in Los Angeles while limiting the Dodgers to two hits and two walks.
“He was really good,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. “He kept the ball down in the zone, had some good movement on his fastball, good slider and changeup. If he can stay like that, and we have some consistency from him, we’re going to be OK.”
Ross is 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA in five career appearances against the Cardinals, including three starts. Nolan Arenado (2-for-5, two doubles, RBI) and Molina (2-for-7, two walks, RBI) have fared well against him in limited action.
Ross will have to deal with a lineup that broke out Tuesday night against Stephen Strasburg. The Cardinals got 15 hits, including three homers, and drew seven walks.
–Field Level Media