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Edward Mujica on first blown save: “I didn’t follow Yadi and that’s a mistake”

Jul 5, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

Edward Mujica has been brilliant since stepping into the Cardinals’ closer role, converting 21 consecutive saves with a 2.20 ERA and 25/1 K/BB ratio in 28.2 innings heading into last night.

And then last night against the Angels he blew his first save of the season by serving up a game-tying two-run homer to Josh Hamilton and a game-winning single to Erick Aybar, with both hits coming on changeups.

After the game Mujica explained to Jenifer Langosch of that catcher Yadier Molina had called for a fastball on both pitches:

With a 1-0 count against Hamilton, Molina called for an inside fastball. Mujica shook it off, wanting to throw his signature split-changeup. Hamilton crushed it for a two-run homer. … Nine-hole hitter Erick Aybar worked the count to 2-1, at which point Molina, again, called fastball. Mujica instead went back to his changeup. Aybar dropped it into left to send the Cardinals to their second walk-off loss of the season.

“I didn’t follow Yadi, and that’s a mistake I can’t make anymore,” Mujica said. “From now on, I’m just going with Yadi. It was a big mistake.”

Molina is such an amazing defensive catcher and is consistently given so much credit for the Cardinals’ success that shaking him off leading to blown saves makes for a very interesting narrative. It’s at least worth noting, however, that Mujica’s changeup has been an incredibly effective pitch. In fact, according to Fan Graphs it’s been one of the 10 best pitches thrown by relievers this season. I’ll be curious to track if Mujica throws it less often going forward.

  1. stex52 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Admirable honesty. I might have just glossed over the details in my interview and apologized to Yadi personally.

    I remember when the Cards let Matheny (more than a respectable catcher, himself) go because they thought Yadi would give them the same defense with more offense. I think it is safe to say that the kid is working out pretty well.

  2. jarathen - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    It’s a perfect mea culpa. You admit your mistakes, polish up Yadi’s ego, and move on.

  3. km9000 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    But how often has he shaken off Molina and had good results? Considering his numbers, I’m guessing it’s happened more than a few times.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      km: I am guessing it rarely happens.
      Qualification: I have heard the pitching staff (from top to bottom) admit as much.
      By and large…the sign he throws down is the pitch they are throwing.

      • paperlions - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:02 PM

        Yep, the Cardinals staff is full of guys that work fast. One of the reasons they can work so fast is they don’t shake off signs very often…they just focus on executing the pitch that is called and leave most of the thinking to the guy behind the plate.

  4. thomas844 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    The Yadi is always right! Much credit to STL pitchers, but I bet Yadi is a big reason why they have one of the game’s best rotations. I’m a Reds fan saying this, by the way.

  5. ptfu - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    He was trying to announce his presence with authority.

    • albertmn - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      If the pitches called and thrown were swapped, I could give you a thumbs up. But, I don’t know if a changeup is announcing with authority. I like the thought, but there has to be a better Bull Durham reference to be had. Maybe….”He’s shaking me off. You believe that shit? Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.”

      • bisonaudit - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        “I held it like an egg.”

      • ptfu - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        Okay, I can get on board with that.

      • albertmn - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        “You just got lesson number one: don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club.”

  6. stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Let’s see…you have 21 consecutive saves. Saves garnered by following the signs of your Catcher. Following those signs verbatim mind you. So what do you do? You shake him off of course. Cause’ naturally, you know best in this situation. The aforementioned 21 consecutive saves were an aberration.
    I too appreciate his honesty. At the same time…stupid, dumb, idiotic move Edward.
    Do. Not. Do. It. Again.

    • gloccamorra - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      “The aforementioned 21 consecutive saves were an aberration.”

      They sure were, if you look at Mujica’s record in Cleveland, San Diego and Miami. That record includes VERY inopportune homers allowed, and the pattern stopped in St. Louis. He should have figured out why last year.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        I hear you gloccamorra.
        I also know (at the risk of jinxing him)…
        Mujica is only the latest pitcher to find success in St. Louis after being pulled off the scrap heap. That in mind…if I were him…I would go with what go me here.
        And that doesn’t include shaking of Baseball’s best Catcher.

  7. Francisco (FC) - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    I’m wondering if – after being blown off – Yadi said: “Can’t believe this guy is blowing me off with the game on line”. To the batter: “Son, you’re getting the split-finger change-up.”

    • stex52 - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      Good point, FC. I guess that Mujica will always have that little thread of doubt in his mind.

  8. clydeserra - Jul 5, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    The A’s starter dan straily said he shook off his catcher twice Thursday, an the catcher, derek Norris put down the same sign after the shake off and set up.

  9. jkaflagg - Jul 5, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Best swing I’ve seen Hamilton put on a ball all season….for a while there was no reason to throw him a strike, since he would swing at anything and everything…..Mujica’s mistake was more in throwing it over he plate as opposed to what type of pitch….

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