Yadier Molina looking for fourth trip to World Series
At least one of the three Molina brothers has played in a World Series in six of the previous 11 years. The St. Louis Cardinals need one more victory to get Yadier to the Fall Classic for the fourth time.
"Obviously, we wanted to win it today, but it didn't happen," Molina said Wednesday after going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a pair of inning-ending double-play grounders in the Cardinals' 6-4 loss in Game 5 to the Dodgers. "Right now I'm frustrated. I mean, I had the chance to help my team win in the first inning and I didn't come through. But that's part of baseball. Some days you're going to have bad games."
The five-time All-Star helped the Cardinals win pennants in 2004, 2006 and 2011 -- the last two resulting in World Series titles.
Brothers Bengie and Jose were Angels teammates in 2002 when the Halos captured the franchise's only championship. Jose got another Series ring in 2009 with the Yankees, and Bengie got his second one in 2010 from the Giants after they traded him to Texas midway through that season and then won the World Series title.
Yadier Molina led the Cardinals in batting for the third straight season with a .319 average, and established career bests with 161 hits and 80 RBIs despite missing 14 games with a sprained right knee. He also batted .373 with runners in scoring position.
Defensively, the five-time Gold Glove winner threw out 19 of 45 baserunners for a major league-leading 57.8 success rate, while helping the pitching staff craft a 3.43 team ERA despite injuries to longtime ace Chris Carpenter and closer Jason Motte.
"In my opinion, not only is Yadi the MVP of that team, but the league," said Los Angeles Dodgers utilityman Skip Schumaker, a teammate of Molina's for eight seasons in St. Louis.
"What Yadi means to them defensively - commanding the game, shutting down the running game almost completely," Schumaker added. "He's one of the smartest baseball people I've been around. He makes the team that much better and makes those young pitchers so good because they know they can trust him and not have to shake him off at any point. That is a really good thing to have, confidence-wise, when you're a young pitcher."
The only time all of the Molina brothers were in the postseason the same year was 2004 and `05. Yadier and the Cardinals won it all in `04. Bengie and Jose got as far as the ALCS the following year.
LASTING IMPRINT: A lot of the St. Louis Cardinals' success this postseason can be attributed to Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Before moving into the Astros' front office in late 2011, Luhnow was the Cardinals' vice president of scouting and player development. Sixteen of the 25 players on the Cardinals' NL championship series roster were acquired during Luhnow's tenure, with 14 playing through the first four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Luhnow scored best during the drafts of 2007 and 2009, when 10 current Cardinals players were picked by his staff. The 2007 class included current infielders Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma, and pitcher Kevin Siegrist.
In 2009, the Cardinals selected pitchers Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly, as well as infielders Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter.
Other notable acquisitions by Luhnow were pitchers Carlos Martinez (2010) and Seth Maness (2011), and outfielders Jon Jay and Shane Robinson. Robinson had a pinch-hit home run in Tuesday's 4-2 win.
"They have some very talented kids over there in Martinez and Siegrist, and guys that none of us have really faced too much in big spots," Dodgers outfielder Skip Schumaker said. "They're throwing 100 miles an hour with decent off-speeds. They're here for a reason. It's because those young arms are very talented."