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Cubs provide theories, amusement to Yadier Molina’s sticky situation

Cubs manager Joe Maddon reacts to a ball sticking to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina’s chest protector during the game Thursday, April 6, 2017, in St. Louis. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Yadier Molina pleaded ignorance to why a ball stuck to the middle of his chest protector in a strange occurrence in Thursday’s 6-4 victory over the Cardinals.

"I got Velcro," Cubs manager Joe Maddon quipped after the Gold Glove catcher couldn’t find Brett Cecil’s wild pitch on a third strike that enabled Matt Szczur to reach first base and ignite the Cubs’ game-winning rally in the seventh inning.

Pitcher John Lackey, 38, echoed the thoughts of his teammates when he said he never had witnessed such a development. Lackey didn’t reveal any theories on how this could have happened, although he did leave the door open for speculation.

"I wouldn’t know anything about that sticky stuff," Lackey said. to here

Right fielder Jason Heyward, who played with Molina in 2015, said it’s common for catchers to use Tuf-Skin, a colorless spray used to assist in the taping of ankles, as well as pine tar. Heyward said he joked later with Molina about the play but didn’t accuse him of using any substances.

"Catchers have stuff all the time," said Heyward, adding that pine tar is legal for catchers to use. "I’m not saying he does."

Molina repeated, "I don’t know" when reporters asked how the ball stuck to him, adding "that’s a dumb question" when asked if he put something on his chest protector."

Photos from the Cubs-Cardinals game at Busch Stadium on April 6, 2017.

Rotation juggle: The Cubs found one benefit to having two days off this week.

The breaks allowed them to juggle their rotation to present the most favorable matchups. Jake Arrieta was moved up to start Sunday’s finale against the Brewers and left-hander Jon Lester was pushed back to start Monday night’s home opener against the Dodgers.

The latter move is designed to combat the Dodgers’ predominantly left-handed hitting lineup with Corey Seager, Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles, as well as switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal.

The Dodgers advanced to the 2016 National League Championship Series despite batting only .214 against left-handers (compared to a .264 mark against right-handers).

"It was so obvious we can’t walk away from it," Maddon said.

Streak of sorts: The Cubs have won their last five series at Busch Stadium since getting swept June 26-28, 2015.