Yadier Molina tried to talk his way into the lineup for NLCS Game 5

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Yadier Molina hasn’t played since suffering a left oblique strain in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Giants on Sunday, but he tried to state his case to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny today. It didn’t work.

A.J. Pierzynski started behind the plate in Game 4 yesterday, but Tony Cruz will catch Adam Wainwright for Game 5 tonight.

On a related note, Zachary Levine of Baseball Prospectus took an interesting look today at whether it would be worth starting Molina even if he can’t swing a bat. It’s hard to say anything for sure since he might even have trouble throwing out an attempted basestealer, but it’s worth a look if you need to kill some time before Game 5.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?