It was a valiant effort last night for St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitcher Michael Wacha.
Sep 24, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) throws to a Washington Nationals batter during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. Wacha threw 8.2 innings allowing one hit and striking out nine as St. Louis defeated Washington 2-0. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Drafted as the 19th overall pick during the 2012 MLB Draft, Wacha shot up quickly to the big leagues following an impressive round of work during Spring Training.
There is one interesting aspect to look at here and it’s not the fact that the minor league system is stocked with arms. It’s the fact that Wacha was selected by the Cardinals with the pick that they received when Albert Pujols decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. If Pujols doesn’t leave, is Wacha wearing a Cardinals uniform or that of another team?
Wacha was one out away from throwing the first Cardinals no-hitter since 2001. It does hurt that Ryan Zimmerman reached on an infield single that caused Matt Adams to be thrown off the bag on the throw. I hurt for Wacha in that regard but still tip my cap to the rookie pitcher.
Unlike Shelby Miller‘s performance against the Cincinnati Reds during the last week of the 2012 season, Wacha’s start was important. By the time that Miller took to the mound in 2012, the Cardinals had clinched the Wild Card berth and the Reds had clinched the NL Central division title. All we know right now is that all three teams in the NL Central are going to the playoffs but the question remains as NL Central champs or as the Wild Card teams?
The magic number is now three games.
“This last week of baseball, every win is crucial,” Wacha said in an MLB.com article. “That’s the mindset coming into this game — let’s win this game and stay in first place. … The night ended up being pretty special.”
Don’t let one single take away from the pitcher’s future. He’ll get a no-hitter eventually.