Something interesting happened on Thursday afternoon in the Cubs-Cardinals game: a baseball literally stuck to catcher Yadier Molina. In the top of the seventh inning, reliever Brett Cecil threw a 0-2 pitch in the dirt that Matt Szczur swung over. Molina went to his knees to block the ball and the ball stuck to his chest protector. Molina had no idea where the ball went, so Szczur reached safely on the strikeout. Molina finally realized what happened, so he had a laugh about it.
Molina wasn’t laughing after the game when he was asked if he put anything on his chest protector. Because how else would a baseball defy the laws of gravity? “That’s a dumb question,” Molina responded, per Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Altering a ball with a substance — which Molina presumably could have done by rubbing his hand over his chest protector before returning the ball to his pitcher — is against baseball’s rules, of course. But there’s a bit of an unspoken rule where players are allowed to do it as long as they’re not obvious about it. The problem with past offenders like Michael Pineda is that they were way too obvious. Molina would fall under “too obvious” as well.
Aside from Molina’s flippant response, we haven’t heard any explanation about what happened. Hopefully Cecil and/or manager Mike Matheny provide some clarification.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.
Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.
Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.
Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.
And John Lackey is livid.
The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.
Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.