A bat in hand, San Francisco Giants cleanup hitter Buster Posey had only a minute to spare Monday before his turn came to work on a swing that will win awards and make him millions. He used it to consider the Cardinals Yadier Molina, a fellow catcher, and what he does so well with the less glamorous tools of their trade.

"Everything," Posey said.

He shifted to lean on his bat on a dugout step.

"I know that sounds cliché. I do," he continued. "But he receives well. He blocks well. He throws well, and he commands a pitching staff really well. All the things he does and some intangibles that he does in there as well that you can't really put numbers on. He does everything. … The goal is to give those pitchers as much as confidence as you can. You know everybody on the field is looking to you for it."

Everybody in and around this series is, too.

The National League championship series that pits two of the league's oldest franchises and its past two pennant winners also highlights the two best catchers in their field.

This has become an October that celebrates the crouch. All four of baseball's remaining playoff teams are managed by a former catcher, and all four teams feature an All-Star behind the plate.

In the NLCS, which shifts to Busch Stadium for Game 3 of the best-of-seven series this afternoon (weather permitting), the Giants' Posey is poised to win his first Silver Slugger award as the best offensive player at the position while Molina is bound to win the Gold Glove Award, his fifth consecutive as the best defensive player at their position.

Both have been the most reliable producer for their playoff teams, lifting their masks and rising from their squats into consideration for the most valuable player.