It was announced Sunday morning that St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent surgery for what was described as a traumatic hematoma. He is expected to miss at least a month, the team announced yesterday.
While this could be a big blow for a team that is currently in first place in the National League Central, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. In a corresponding move to Molina’s injury, the Cardinals have recalled catcher Carson Kelly from Triple-A Memphis. It’s not the way you want it to happen, but it’ll be Carson Kelly time in St. Louis, at least for a little while, perhaps the Cardinals will get to see a glimpse of the future behind the plate. This will definitely be Carson Kelly’s chance to prove something at the big league level, so it will be interesting to see how he will take advantage of this opportunity.
As a team, the Cardinals have an opportunity to take advantage of an upcoming 15-game stretch. That includes two games vs the Twins (currently 13-17), four games at the Padres (currently 13-22), two games at the Twins, four games vs the Phillies (currently 18-15), and three games vs the Royals (11-23). Those four teams are currently a combined 55-77, a .416 winning percentage.
So can they beat the bad teams? Well, yes, because most notably the Cardinals are a combined 9-0 against the Reds and White Sox.
Even better, after a statement series sweep over the Cubs this weekend at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals are 20-12 overall on the season and 15-5 in their last 20 games and their current five-game winning streak matches a season high. Including a 14-7 mark against the NL Central, the Cardinals are now 4-1 against the Cubs so far this season. Last season, the Cardinals were 5-14 against the Cubs last season, which was ultimately the difference in the NL Central, because both teams had identical records if you exclude the head-to-head results.
But make no mistake about it, this is an upcoming stretch the Cardinals have to take advantage of if they want to become a serious threat to win the NL Central, plain and simple. If they can take care of their own business, the fun might be only getting started for the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals.