Despite a rough first inning, in which he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits (including a homer) and 3 walks, Michael Wacha was able to settle down to earn his first major league win.
With Jake Westbrook set to return to the Cardinals rotation on Friday, early indications were that he would replace Tyler Lyons in the rotation, as that would be Lyons' normal day to start. However, the Cards could just push Lyons back a day and replace Wacha in the rotation. The Cardinals were awaiting the outcome of Wacha's start last night before making a decision. A bad start by Wacha likely would have sealed his fate.
However, with his solid effort--he did not allow a run beyond that first inning last night--Wacha did everything in his power to make his case for staying in the rotation. Now its up to the Cardinals to decide. Do they go with the high upside Wacha or do they play it safe with the youngster and send him back down to AAA?
I've been going back and forth on this for a while now too. I think that, over the rest of the season, Wacha would probably give us the best chance to win, but at what cost?
Could Matheny push him too far and potentially set him up for an injury? Will the Cardinals be forced to shut him down in September, like Washington did last year with Stephen Strasburg, leaving a hole in the Cards rotation during the most critical time of the season?
The silver lining in all of this is that the Cardinals have these difficult decisions to make because they have an abundance of quality young starting pitchers to choose from. So, if the Cardinals make the difficult decision of sending Wacha down, much to the chagrin of Cardinals fans everywhere, it will be because it is in the best interests of the team and Wacha in the long run.