Associated Press

Yadier Molina leaves game after taking two foul balls to the mask

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The St. Louis Cardinals have been eliminated from contention for the NL Central crown and are hanging on by the thinnest of threads in the race for the second NL Wild Card, two and a half games back of the Rockies with the Brewers in between. Last night those dim playoff hopes took what may have been a fatal blow thanks to a couple of foul balls that knocked Yadier Molina out of the game and, possibly, out for the season.

In the seventh inning of last night’s Cubs-Cardinals game Molina took a Kris Bryant foul ball off of his mask. It sent him to his knees. He gathered himself, set back up and, on the very next pitch, took a second foul ball, right to the mask. He was much slower in rising that time and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny immediately — and wisely — pulled Molina from the game.

Molina is being monitored for a concussion. Whether he has one or not, prudence would dictate sitting him down for the rest of what are likely the Cardinals final six games of 2017.

Sean Doolittle to miss more time with stress reaction in bridge of left foot

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Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will miss more time than expected as he is dealing with a stress reaction in the bridge of his left foot, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports. Doolittle started feeling soreness in his left foot two weeks ago and went on the 10-day disabled list on July 10, retroactive to the 7th.

According to Zuckerman, Doolittle’s injury is similar to a bone bruise. The lefty will stop his rehab program and will likely miss several more weeks than expected. The injury caused Doolittle to not participate in the All-Star Game, but his hope was to return shortly after the second half began.

Doolittle, 31, has 22 saves and a 1.45 ERA with a 49/3 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings for the Nationals this season. Kelvin Herrera will likely get the lion’s share of save chances while Doolittle is out.