Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Michael Wacha gets the call for the Cardinals

After seemingly endless speculation over the last month, the Cardinals have finally decided to call up Michael Wacha to join their injury depleted starting rotation.  The Cardinals announced the move today.  Wacha will make his much anticipated debut on Thursday night in St. Louis against Jeremy Guthrie and the Kansas City Royals. 

Wacha has received a lot of hype this year, ever since his dominance during Spring Training, in which he allowed only one unearned run in 11.2 innings.  His stats so far at AAA Memphis have not been as spectacular, but a 4-0 record and 2.05 ERA is nothing to sniff at either.

However, before Cardinals fans (and fantasy players) everywhere rush to jump on the Wacha hype bandwagon, here are a few things to consider.

First, Wacha will have had 8 days off since his last start.  Thus, he will be a bit out of his routine and may also be a bit pumped up for his start.  Don't be surprised if he starts the game a little wild and gets knocked around a bit.  Even so, he will still get every opportunity to strut his stuff at the major league level (at least until Jake Westbook is healthy).

Second, despite his nice ERA at Memphis, Wacha has not been as dominant as he was last year or even during the spring, striking out only 34 hitters in 52.2 innings.  Perhaps he has been working on his breaking stuff while at Memphis, instead of relying on his bread-and-butter pitch, his changeup, to get hitters out.  But the low strikeout rate is still a cause for concern.

Finally, there have been many talented pitchers, including certain Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who struggled in their first season in the majors.  Its rare for pitchers to come up and dominate from the get go.  Sometimes they get off to a hot start, but the league soon catches up to them and they either adjust or get sent back down for more seasoning. 

So, while it is certainly exciting for all to see Wacha get the nod for Thursday, we should temper our expectations some and just enjoy the ride. 

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