Last night was overall an impressive evening for St. Louis baseball. As the Conclave discussed, the Cardinals have their manager for the next few seasons and possibly much longer. The opening game of the home stand to close out the month had a couple of hiccups (see Hicks, Jordan) but another dominant start for Jack Flaherty takes the pressure off the rest of the staff.
I had the luxury of a mid-week night off and as it happened, Springfield was at home with a rehabbing important piece to the September roster puzzle. As I took up seats behind home plate, Michael Wacha donned the number 22 for the SCards and jogged to the mound looking poised to take his spot back in the big league rotation.
Then a not-so-funny thing happened before an easy trip back up Interstate 44.
Wacha found the Arkansas Travelers in attack mode right from his initial offering and couldn’t find his comfort zone in a much shorter outing than planned. Springfield catcher Andrew Knizner didn’t help matters with a couple of passed balls, but the most worrisome issue was that the Cardinals need answers on just where to go from here.
In the first inning, vintage Wacha appeared as the second batter was baffled on three consecutive pitches. That honestly may have been the high point of the contest, however, as the first passed ball and one of many hard hit balls found openings against the Springfield defense.
Wacha gave up single runs in both the first and second innings but managed to limit the damage. His pitch count already in the upper 40’s and only in the third frame, an early shower came after the trainer visited following a three-run homer for Arkansas. The final line wasn’t pretty or was the initial diagnosis of muscle tightness.
All in all, it is always fun to get out and see a game, especially at the beautiful park that Springfield calls home. It very well could be where Wacha throws again but time is coming short on the Texas League schedule. Here’s hoping it was merely a precaution, as the Cardinals can always find a use for more vintage Wacha down the stretch.