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ST. LOUIS -- How hard do Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez and all the Cardinals' young smokeballers throw a baseball?
Here's how their catcher answered that question Friday afternoon:
"Want to see my glove?" Yadier Molina asked a few visitors to his locker, after his team's brief off-day workout before Game 3 of the World Series.
He 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.
"Does that tell you?" he asked.
Point made. Eloquently.
|Trevor Rosenthal gave Yadier Molina's glove a workout in Game 2, delivering fastball after fastball in the upper-90s.|
"It's funny," Molina went on. "I used to have one glove that I would use for the whole year. But this is my second this year."
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."
What he cares about, of course, is that this is a staff of more than just young radar-gun all-stars.
They may break his mitt and bruise his hand, "but they're fun to catch," Molina said. "Obviously, they throw hard, but they know how to pitch, too. And they're not scared."
For the record, the Cardinals have six pitchers on their staff whose fastball averaged 93.5 mph or better this year, according to PITCHf/x:
But as the Red Sox found out in Game 2, when Martinez and Rosenthal stomped out of the bullpen to strike out six in the last three innings, these are two guys who are as hazardous to hitters than they are to catcher's mitts.
Molina ran his finger across the split leather in his glove. And how much longer would he be using this as his game mitt?
"For three more games," he chuckled.