On July 15th, 2014 the St. Louis Cardinals will have four players and their manager, Mike Matheny, represent them in the mid-summer classic. Yadier Molina will start at catcher for the National League and will be his sixth total and consecutive selection. Joining Molina in Minnesota will be third basemen Matt Carpenter and pitchers Adam Wainwright and Pat Neshek. The possibility of Matheny picking Wainwright to pitch and have Molina behind the plate is an option, but the Cardinals schedule may restrict that.
Entering Monday night, All-Star Yadier Molina is hitting below what he has the past few seasons, but has still been one if the better offensive catchers in the game. His defensive and fielding skills are still what make Molina truly remarkable. He shuts down the ruining game of other teams, calls great games behind the plate, and is a huge asset to the development of the young, exciting pitchers on the roster.
Molina only has two passed balls this season and is throwing out base runners at a 50% rate (17/34), good for third best of his career, according to baseball-reference.com. Molina has a legendary arm and blocks baseballs behind the plate with the best of them. When a pitcher can throw a breaking ball in the dirt without consequence at any point in an at-bat is a huge bonus. Adam Wainwright knows how nice it is throwing to Molina all of these years because of his big 12-6 curveball. Yadier Molina is what every general manager wants in a player because of the position he plays, his talent and knowledge as well as his passion and love for the game.
Matt Carpenter will make his second straight All-Star Game after his breakout season last year. The Cardinals third basemen has been steady in the lead off spot in the lineup with a .379 on-base percentageCarpenter has drawn 50 walks and scored 56 runs on the season as well. Matt Carpenter should end up with very solid numbers, around 100+ runs, 60 RBI, and a batting average at .290+.
Adam Wainwright will make only his third All-Star game of his career. That number comes as a little bit of a surprise given his status as an ace, consistency, and popularity with the fans. Wainwright wasn’t selected to the All-Star game in 2009 even though he finished third in the Cy Young voting and 15th in the MVP voting, per baseball-reference.com. That seems like a made up scenario. Fans will have to make it up to him these next couple of years.
Adam Wainwright left little doubt on if he’d be selected this year as his numbers are outstanding. After his start that saw him go another seven scoreless innings against the Pittsburg Pirates on Monday, Wainwright lowered his ERA to MLB best 1.79 and has 11 wins on the season, per ESPN.com. He has kept St. Louis afloat this season and in contention for the NL Central title. Wainwright is scheduled to pitch the Saturday before the All-Star Game and would be on short rest if he were to pitch. His manager, Mike Matheny could opt to show off his deadly pitcher-catcher duo in the game by starting Wainwright.
The last St. Louie Cardinal, but not least, that was selected to the All-Star Game is right-handed reliever, Pat Neshek. In his first season with the Cardinals, Neshek has been nothing short of amazing. According to baseball-reference.com, he sports a microscopic 0.75 ERA, an even better .555 WHIP, and a 3-0 record.
Neshek has appeared in 41 games already and is on pace for around 70-75 games, something he hasn’t done since 2007 with the Minnesota Twins. Besides that season he has never appeared in more than 45 games. His strikeout to walk ratio is something to mention as well at 36:4. This great first half for Neshek comes in a season where St. Louis’ bullpen has stumbled a lot more than people have thought, by performance and injuries. Even in just a middle relief role, the Cardinals would not be where they are without Neshek’s stear performances. This will be Neshek’s first All-Star game.
The St. Louis Cardinals will look to improve their play and take over first place in the NL Central after the All-Star break. They will need their All-Stars to continue their production if they are to take first place. The Cardinals were looked at as the favorite to win their division and even the National League Pennant, but haven’t played to those expectations. Things should start turn around as this team is too deep and talented to not be in contention.
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