Yadier Molina followed up his game-tying single in the eighth inning with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th, forcing a win-or-go-home Game 5 against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
Yadier Molina never seizes to amaze. His clutch meter is through the roof. pic.twitter.com/TFd6MwM7To
— Gateway Grinders (@gatewaygrinders) October 7, 2019
In what has become a classic series between two of the MLB’s most historic franchises, it’s a shame that this series must stop after just five games. There can only be one winner, and that’ll be determined tomorrow.
⚾️: Yadier Molina produjo la anotación con la que Cardenales venció a Bravos por 5 carreras a 4 en la décima entrada, para empatar la serie divisional de la Liga Nacional, la cual se definirá mañana en Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/cMM36ymZjk
— José Juan Vázquez (@josejuanvazkez) October 8, 2019
Here are five numbers to keep in mind heading into a decisive Game 5 between St. Louis and Atlanta.
Why not begin this list with the reason we’re even here in a Game 5? The heroics of Yadier Molina. The man who brought the Cardinals back from the brink has a career-OPS of 1.250 in his six career winner-taker-all games.
He’s recorded a hit in five of the six, reached base in each game, and reached base twice in five of the six. While “clutch” might not be a predictive metric, the veteran catcher always has his fingerprints on the game when he needs to the most. Expect more of the same against Mike Foltynewicz and company on Wednesday.
If you were told before this series that part of Freddie Freeman’s slash-line would read “.313,” you’d have probably assumed that was his batting average. Unfortunately for Braves fans, one of their MVP candidates is posting a slugging percentage of .313 in this series.
His average is just .125 and he’s been about as much of a liability with the bat in his hand as you’d expect a pitcher to be. There have been reports that he has been nursing a bone spur in his right elbow, but the fact of the matter is that he’s healthy enough to be on the field—therefore he should be expected to contribute.
Entering this series, the Atlanta Braves bullpen was almost half a run worse than the Cardinals bullpen. This series, it’s been the opposite. While the Braves pen hasn’t been sharp (4.91 ERA), it has been better than the 5.40 ERA posted by the Cardinals’ pen. In total, the combined bullpen ERA of 5.13 is very telling of how this series has gone, as three of the four games have seen a complete implosion of either team’s relief.
It was a pleasure watching the fast development of Ronald Acuña Jr. this season. Especially when you consider his postseason slash-line through four games against the Dodgers in 2018 was .188/.235/.438. The 21-year-old Venezuela native has been on a mission this series, as he’s been hammering the baseball all over the ballpark, including a mammoth, yet controversial home run against Carlos Martinez.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 4, 2019
Why the question marks, you might ask. Well, that’s because no numbers can do justice when you look at either of these managers. While Brian Snitker of the Braves was at the helm of the Braves when they lost to the Dodgers last year, he hasn’t managed in a game quite like this. Neither has the first-year manager of the Cardinals Mike Shildt.
Oftentimes in winner-take-all games, you’ll see starters taken out early, and sometimes it’s a bench player who makes the biggest impact. However, how each of these unknowns manages the game is yet to be seen. Neither has a track record of success and all of that will change in the next 36 hours.
The pitching matchup for Game 5 is Mike Foltynewicz (1-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Braves, against Jack Flaherty (0-1, 3.86 ERA). It’s the same duel from Game 2, which the Braves won 3-0.
Will we see a different outcome? Or will the Atlanta Braves be moving on the NLCS for the first time since 2001? Find out tomorrow, as first pitch is at 5:02 pm in Atlanta.