TORONTO -- A day after setting a franchise record by throwing out four baserunners, Blue Jays catcher Jose Molina made a point to credit the men on the mound. Molina said the quick moves to the plate have played a major role in robbing would-be stealers.
"The pitchers give me a good chance," Molina said on Monday. "That's the main thing for, not just me, but any catcher for throwing guys out. Holding runners and the way they slide step, have quick feet, that's all them. The pitchers have done everything."
On Sunday, Brandon Morrow was on the hill for Toronto for each of the four throws that Molina used to gun down Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford (twice), B.J. Upton and Sean Rodriguez. Pitching coach Bruce Walton said Morrow's slide step clocks in between 1.20-1.25 seconds, which only helps the catcher.
Walton said the goal for all his pitchers is to fall under 1.3 seconds -- from the moment a pitcher lifts his front foot to the point when the baseball lands in the catcher's glove -- when pitching out of the stretch. Walton said each of the Jays' pitchers are under that mark.
"Brandon did a nice job," Walton said. "He gave Mo a good enough chance to throw those guys out. That's a credit to Mo. He put every throw on the money and he came out of the chute quick. We did our part, but Mo was tremendous every time."
Entering Monday, Molina was tied for the Major League lead with seven runners thrown out. The only other catcher to rob that many runners was Colorado's Miguel Olivo, who had appeared in 97 innings to Molina's 51 for Toronto. Molina had only played in six games, whereas the next three catchers on the list (five caught stealing apiece) -- Minnesota's Joe Mauer, Baltimore's Matt Wieters and Oakland's Kurt Suzuki -- had each appeared in at least 17 games with at least 143 innings behind the plate.