Aside from the thumb injury, this season was the healthiest Molina has been in two years, though his offensive numbers have taken a dip. His .660 OPS was his worst since 2006, but the 33-year-old still ranks as one of the best defensive catchers by FanGraphs' metrics.
Molina left a game against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 24 after taking a foul tip off his right knee protector. Those kinds of nicks and dings come with the territory for catchers, but the dynamic of St. Louis' roster is significantly altered in the absence of his backstop wizardry.
The Cardinals haven't missed a beat this season, despite a lot of injuries to key players. Adam Wainwright didn't start a game after April 2, only recently returning in a bullpen role; Jordan Walden is on the 60-day disabled list; Matt Adams missed three months; Matt Holliday and Jon Jay played in fewer than 100 games; and Randal Grichuk's stellar rookie season was interrupted by an elbow injury in August.
St. Louis' front office has done a masterful job of building a deep, talented roster to not only withstand all of those blows, but continue to thrive.
Getting Molina back in time for a World Series push may prove to be instrumental to the Cardinals' fate.