There are some events that are truly rare to witness. The blue moon. Halley’s Comet. The Cubs having legitimate postseason aspirations. All of these things fall under the barely seen category. Then there is the rarity that the Rays brought forth last night – Jose Molina at designated hitter.
Yes, Jose Molina. The same Jose Molina that had been regarded as an offensive sinkhole before this season started as the Rays designated hitter last night, something he had done a total of twelve times in his career. For how rare this is, Molina has stolen more bases (16) than he has been a DH in his career.
Yet, it was a move that was deserved. Although he was 0-3 with a strikeout as the DH last night, Molina had been hitting the ball well as of late, producing a .365/.382/.423 batting line over his previous 20 games. While players such as Kelly Johnson and James Loney have cooled off, Molina and fellow catcher Jose Lobaton have been hitting the ball well.
Even though most teams try to avoid using their backup catcher as the designated hitter, Maddon decided it was better to keep the hot bat in the lineup, playing Molina instead of Johnson or Matt Joyce. Although Joyce did replace Molina later in the game, just the fact that he was able to start as the Rays designated hitter for even one night is a credit to how well he has played as of late.
It may have been unconventional, and rather peculiar, to see Jose Molina in the lineup as the starting designated hitter for the Rays. It was, however, a start that he earned through his performance. If he can continue to swing a hot bat, Molina may find himself in that position more often over the course of the season.