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).

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.