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Cards wanted Wacha in October (so they didn't Strasburg him)

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

The Cards purposely kept Wacha's inning total down to ensure he'd be ready in October. (USATSI)
The Cards limited Wacha's work during the regular season to ensure he'd be ready in October. (USATSI)

PITTSBURGH -- John Mozeliak never mentioned Stephen Strasburg.

He didn't need to.

I knew what he was talking about, and so do you. When he said that the Cardinals worked the 2013 program for Michael Wacha and their other young pitchers to make sure they would be ready for September and October, the Cardinals general manager was saying that the Cards didn't want a Strasburg situation.

They weren't going to let it happen. They weren't going into the most important games with their best pitchers sidelined.

"I wanted [Wacha] to gain experience," Mozeliak said Monday, after Wacha saved the Cardinals season and set up Game 5 against the Pirates. "I didn't want a workload that would preclude him from being used at the major-league level in August, September and hopefully October."

The Cardinals didn't know they would need to rely on Wacha now, but they always saw it as a possibility. So they kept him in the minor leagues as long as they could. They gave him as long of an All-Star break as they could.

And when the regular season was over, Wacha's innings total sat at 149 2/3, major leagues and minor leagues combined. There was no need to even discuss a shutdown.

He was there for Game 4, just as the Pirates have Gerrit Cole available for Game 5.

Should the Nationals have handled the Strasburg situation differently?

Mozeliak didn't say that. He didn't need to.

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