Dee Gordon led the Majors with 64 stolen bases as he not only solidified second base, but also became a viable threat at the top of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup.
However, as the season wore on, Gordon slowed down on the basepaths — he had just 21 stolen bases after the All-Star break — and most recently, was removed early with hip irritation on Sept. 27; Gordon asserted he’s recovered and will not be limited by the injury when the NL Division Series begins Friday.
Whether or not he’s 100 percent healthy, Gordon will face a tough challenge in trying to steal bases on Yadier Molina. Although he isn’t qualified due to missing time in July and August, Molina threw out 48 percent of baserunners, which is up from last year’s clip of 44 percent.
Despite the formidable threat Molina poses, Gordon said it wouldn’t alter the way he plays, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
No, man, I’ve just got to play my game the way I play my game. A bag is a bag.”
While Molina receives plenty of attention for his defensive skills, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching staff deserves credit:
There’s some catchers that don’t throw at all and you can run on them. So you change the number (the time you have to steal a base). But the Cardinals have a lot of guys who get the ball to home plate. They’re pretty well-schooled on being quick, slide steps, all those types of things. Usually a pitching staff will neutralize the running game more than the catcher himself.”
As a team, the Cardinals gave up 54 stolen bases, which was the lowest total in all of baseball this season. Gordon’s first challenge will come against the combination of Molina and Adam Wainwright, a 20-game winner who only allowed six stolen bases this season.