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Wacha Continues Spring Progress

Michael Wacha sat at 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA after a no-decision on June 20th of last year. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t make another start. His final two outings saw his ERA rise from 2.47 to 3.20 before he went down with a left oblique injury.

What was projecting to be the best year of Wacha’s career, turned into another disappointing season. Since 2014, he’s only made 30 starts two times, once in 2015 and again in 2017. In ’15, he made his only All-Star appearance and finished the year at 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA. However, in ’17, he only threw 165.2 innings and posted a 4.13 ERA.

2019 brings a new season though, and Wacha is hopeful once again that he will be able to stay healthy for it’s duration.

Spring Training

So far this spring, Michael is right where the Cardinals want him to be. Thursday, he pitched a solid five inning, scoreless outing agains the Mets.

Wacha
Christian Gooden/STL Post Dispatch

Wacha felt his latest start was another step in the right direction, saying, “[I] just [have to] take that outing and keep working on what I need to work on and get the mechanics where I need to. But it’s going in the right direction, for sure.”

His fastball sat in the low to mid 90’s Thursday afternoon. That’s down from where he’s been in the past, but it was still a good enough pitch to get two strikeouts. Michael did give up five hits, but they were all singles with the exception of a double in his final inning of work.

Overall, Wacha was happy with his 65 pitch outing. “I thought we attacked guys well with different pitches, mixed it up well. Just keeping them off balance. It was a good day today. I was able to hit the high fastball whenever I needed to, get some swing and misses on it. Worked well with the changeup down. The curveball was over for strikes; cutter had good action as well.”

The lanky right hander is set to make the Opening Day rotation, likely in the third slot after the Carlos Martinez injury. So far in four spring starts he’s given the Cardinals no reason to question that role either. Over 14 innings, he’s struck out nine, walked four and has a 1.93 ERA.

Other Notes

Martinez Cleared to Throw

Carlos Martinez ended a 25-day shutdown on Thursday by playing catch. He clearly isn’t ready to step back on the mound yet, but just being able to throw is a huge step. The last time he threw was during the first week of Spring Training, the same week he was shut down due to shoulder discomfort.

Martinez will not be ready to go by Opening Day, but he could be close. Either way, his role on the team remains uncertain. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said, “We really have to see how the throwing program progresses before we can weigh in on the optimism or concern on when and what type of contribution you might get. We will do what’s best for Carlos. Period. If your question is ‘What if you really need a starter or you really need a reliever?’ Well, of course we can adjust that way. But in terms of the when or the timing, that’s based on what he’s doing.”

Brett Cecil’s Struggles Continue

Before Wacha stepped on the mound against the Mets Thursday, the Cardinals held an inter-squad game to get some guys extra work. One of the guys needing work was Brett Cecil. Ultimately, they were hoping for a better result though.

Cecil pitched one inning, during which he threw a lot of pitches. Despite not allowing a hit, he did surrender one run as well. He did so by walking one batter, plunking another and then throwing a pitch to the backstop. His inning was then extended by an error, though it didn’t factor into the one run allowed.

 

Featured image by MSN.com

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