In an age where everything is hyped to the nth degree, it’s hard to find something that can’t be overstated. But I’ll give you one candidate: Yadier Molina’s defense. Dude has been around for almost a decade now, and I feel like, while most people would agree that he’s the best defensive catcher in baseball, not everyone appreciates just how astoundingly good he is.
He put some of that astoundingly good on display last night.
In the bottom of the seventh, Don Mattingly put in Dee Gordon to pinch run for Luis Cruz after Cruz reached on an error. Mattingly has probably had his team run too damn much lately — Matt Kemp was gunned down by Molina in the fourth inning, and the Dodgers had been unsuccessful on their three previous stolen base attempts before that — but in a close game where runs were hard to come by, it wasn’t totally crazy to have one of baseball’s fastest men try to swipe second.
Gordon actually got a pretty good jump too. But Yadier Molina made what is one of the most fantastic throws you will ever see and nailed him cold. Here’s the GIF, via FanGraphs:
Just sick, really. Absolutely sick. Look how quick he releases that ball. Look how tight that thing is to the ground in flight compared to what you see from most other catchers. And look how hard he throws it, too. It has the same kind of movement you see on a fastball from some assassin closer or something. I’d love to see a radar gun reading of that throw.
Yadier friggin’ Molina, kids. Yadier friggin’ Molina.
The Yankees’ offense finally woke up, scoring eight runs in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night while the pitching kept the Astros’ offense at bay. That came after scoring a total of two runs against Astros pitching in the first two games. For a recap of the Yankees’ scoring in Game 3, click here.
CC Sabathia wasn’t dominant, but he executed pitches when he needed to most, preventing the Astros from capitalizing on their opportunities. Overall, he gave up three hits and four walks while striking out five on 99 pitches. He’s the first pitcher, age 37 or older, to throw six shutout innings in the postseason since Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 2009 NLCS. Monday’s start also marked Sabathia’s first career scoreless outing in the postseason — it was his 22nd postseason appearance.
Astros starter Charlie Morton couldn’t escape the fourth inning, when he allowed a run and loaded the bases before departing. Will Harris allowed all three inherited runners to score on Aaron Judge‘s three-run home run to left field. Morton was ultimately charged with seven runs on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen held the fort after the sixth. Adam Warren worked a scoreless seventh. Warren returned in the eighth and retired the side in order, despite yielding a pair of well-struck balls to deep center field.
In the ninth, Dellin Betances walked both hitters he faced to start the frame. Unsurprisingly, manager Joe Girardi had a short leash and brought in Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle gave up a single to Cameron Maybin then struck out George Springer, but walked Alex Bregman to force in a run. Kahnle got Jose Altuve to ground into a 4-3 double play to end the game in an 8-1 victory, giving the Yankees their first win of the series.
The ALCS continues on Tuesday at 5 PM ET. The Astros will start Lance McCullers and the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the hill.