Michael Wacha And The Magic of Unearned Runs (Cardinals vs Mets)

While being one of the best offensive teams in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals don’t always need hitting to carry them. Sometimes it’s a rookie pitcher named Michael Wacha and one huge mistake from Daniel Murphy that allows them to win 9-2 against the New York Mets despite scoring only two earned runs.

Wacha got his first decision going his way on his first career start, getting over the fact that the Cardinals lost the first two games he played in. The 21 year-old didn’t have the best of starts, allowing two runs (including a homer from Omer Quintanilla) in the first inning, but finished the game picking up the win after six innings, allowing only five hits, although it was still far from perfect for the young righty.

Michael Wacha

The first inning was rough. Just didn’t have any command over my pitches. After I got out of the first I just told myself, just flush it out and just forget about it and just go out and attack the hitters the next couple of innings.

He ended up striking out four batters as the Mets (now 23-36) finished with only .166 on the plate, not getting a single hit after Wacha was taken off in favor of Randy Choate and Keith Butler, who finished the game, keeping the Cardinals with the best record in baseball at 42-22, winning their series opener with the Mets and fourth in five games.

Entering the fifth inning, the Mets had a 2-1 lead. But then Daniel Murphy got a little bit excited and didn’t handle a ground ball from Jon Jay too well, leading to a bad pass towards Jeremy Heffner, which completely changed the game, beginning the five-run fifth inning the Cardinals used to close out the game. Their tying run came off of Michael Wacha, grounding out to shortstop but allowing Jon Jay to reach home plate.

Bad day for Hefner

A little later Allen Craig hit his fifth home run of the season, bringing in three runners, and it was pretty much over, as the Cardinals took complete control of the game while the Mets continued their atrocious hitting which has been going on all season – they’re 26th in runs, 30th in batting average (.225), 27th in OBP (.293) and 28th in slugging (.368). It wasn’t really surprising to see Craig hit the home run that blew the game wide open, batting .400 with runners in scoring position this season.

It’s a groundball that I should have handled, but I booted it. It’s not my first time playing first base, and it gave them life.

Another man worth mentioning is David Freese, who has now extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest in the majors. He finished with 2-of-4, adding a walk as well, as he’s now hitting .415 in June, going along with his .478 OBP and 1.015 OPS this month, in complete contrast to his April, when he hit an awful .163 through the first 15 games. The last time he didn’t get a hit was back in May, as the Cardinals lost to the Mets 5-2.

Images: Source