Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/2/13
Tony Cruz (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)   When the St. Louis Cardinals dropped both games of a doubleheader and the division lead to the Pirates Tuesday, it was not the worst thing that happened to the club that day.  The most troubling problem was when Cards catcher Yadier Molina’s sprained knee flared up and he left the game, ending up on the 15-day disabled list.  While the Cardinals have downplayed the seriousness of the injury, playing without Yadi even for two weeks can be a huge blow in this tight race for the division.  With a tough upcoming schedule it is imperative that the Cardinals at least tread water in Molina’s absence.  These could be a defining next two weeks in the Cards’ quest to win the National League central division. The Cardinals already had two other catchers on the roster when Molina went down; Tony Cruz and Rob Johnson.  Johnson is a veteran with an unproven bat, although the Cardinals’ management loves his ability to handle a pitching staff.  However it will be Cruz who will get the majority of the playing time while Molina is injured.  Cruz has spent the last year and a half behind Molina, getting very little playing time.  But the Cardinals have always been bullish on Cruz, 26, even crediting him with some Molina-like qualities behind the plate.  Cruz has had very little major league opportunities at the dish however, and unless he surprises everyone with his offensive production it will be a huge drop off from that of Molina’s. The Cardinals supposedly tested the trade market for catchers for a day after Molina’s injury and before the non-waiver trade deadline passed.  There was not enough time to strike a deal, but if they had, it would have shown very little confidence in Cruz’s ability, as well as a pessimistic outlook on Molina’s timely return.   This is finally Cruz’s time to show that he can consistently handle the pitching staff and step up offensively.  This team should have plenty of offense to make up for the Molina loss if everyone is right.  The silver lining in the disastrous Pittsburgh series was that the all-encompassing team slump appeared to be broken in the 13-0 win in the series finale.  Every spot in the Cardinal lineup produced, including Tony Cruz, and that is how the team will have to play for the next two weeks.  They need to play at least .500 ball over that time to stay in the divisional race.  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFLPA: NFL didn't respond to Tom Brady settlement offer

Tom Coughlin calls Jason Pierre-Paul situation a ‘fiasco’

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Tom Brady lawsuit transferred from Minnesota to Manhattan

LeGarrette Blount failed conditioning test

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Trent Richardson 'reclamation project not going so well'

Geno Smith laughed at being ranked last in QB poll

Penn State trash talks Notre Dame Twitter over 'Rudy'

Report: Aroldis Chapman unlikely to be traded

Mets’ trade for Carlos Gomez called off despite reports

Report: Rangers to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Terry Collins writes letter to widow of longtime Mets fan

Jets fans fly "Cheaters Look Up" banner over Patriots practice

Dodgers upgrade rotation in unexpected, intelligent way

For some NFL players, life begins at undrafted

NBA's Africa game: A tribute to Hakeem Olajuwon

Top storyline for each NFL team heading into training camp

Texas QB commit has great anti-Oklahoma T-shirt

WATCH: Tim Tebow does monster leg workout

Farrell: Sandoval's conditioning 'continues to be addressed'

Revis won't wear Super Bowl ring around Jets teammates

Former NBAer Vin Baker now works at Starbucks

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

Mets still act like a small-market team

Tom Brady: I did nothing wrong

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker