In the lead-up to Saturday’s tilt against the Phillies, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt put some frustrations out into the ether. Responding to no question in particular, he listed several reasons as to why he felt St. Louis’ offense was in a good place despite a lack of success. They weren’t frustrations directed at anyone in particular, but at the luck of baseball.
The baseball gods must have had their ear in the visitor’s section of Citizens Bank Park.
By the time Shildt returned to the scene of his venting session — the postgame Zoom room — his offense responded on the back of Yadier Molina, who mashed a pair of home runs as part of a four-homer day for the club, which blew past the Phillies, 9-4, in Kwang Hyun Kim’s season debut.
For Molina, it was the continuation of a remarkable start to his 18th Major League season. His third and fourth homers of the year were both of the back-to-back variety. No Cardinals player had been involved in multiple back-to-back home runs in the same game over at least the last 60 years, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Hitting between Nolan Arenado and Paul DeJong allowed Molina to do so.
The mashing was more than enough to back Kim, who made his season debut following a bout with back tightness that began in Spring Training. Limited to 68 pitches, Kim threw 30 in a slog of a first inning before rebounding for four punchouts on the day.
Health is the biggest concern for the Cardinals at this juncture of the season — both physically and in lineup cohesion. Saturday afternoon provided a few causes for optimism.