The Cardinals’ pitchers throw so hard they broke Yadier Molina’s mitt

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Cardinals pitching staffs of the past, particularly under former pitching coach Dave Duncan, were famous for the prodigious rate at which they generated ground balls. The 2013 staff, however, will be known for young arm after young arm hitting the upper 90’s and even the 100’s on the radar gun. When closer Trevor Rosenthal shut down the Red Sox in 1-2-3 order in Game 2, he threw 11 pitches. All of them were fastballs. One was 95 MPH, one was 96, four were 97, four were 98, and one was 99. Good luck with that, hitters.

Illustrating just how hard Cardinals pitchers throw, ESPN’s Jayson Stark provides us with this:

[Molina] laughed and reached into his locker. He dug out his mitt. He held it up for his guests to see. At the top of the pocket, where his palm would be when holding it, the leather was so worn, it was torn. Ripped. Split.

[…]

And, he was asked, has that ever happened before — that he chewed threw two game mitts in the same season?

“Never,” he said. “First time.”

He had to ditch the first one at the All-Star break, he said. And that’s a first, too.

“It is,” he said. “These guys are throwing 98-99 [miles per hour]. But I don’t care about that.”

Stark adds in the article that six Cardinals pitchers averaged 93.5 MPH or higher on their fastballs according to Pitch F/X data: Rosenthal (97.3 MPH), Carlos Martinez (96.7), Kevin Siegrist (95.2), Joe Kelly (94.9), Shelby Miller (93.7), and Michael Wacha (93.5).

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: