Cards rookie Wacha talks no-hit bids, Game 2 vs. Kershaw
Michael Wacha has carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in each of his last two starts, impressing the Cardinals and inspiring an interesting question.
It's a question raised the other day by injured Cardinals closer Jason Motte in an interview with ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, a question that continued to be a topic of light-hearted discussion Thursday as the Cardinals prepared for Friday's Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers.
If you're going to lose a no-hit bid in the late innings, do you want it to happen on an infield chopper or on a 9,000-foot home run?
"It wasn't 9,000 feet," Wacha said. "It was a good 15,000."
Nice that he can laugh about it.
Wacha will start Saturday's Game 2 against Clayton Kershaw in the latest super-kid vs. superstar matchup (even if the 25-year-old Kershaw is only three years older than Wacha). In Wacha's last two starts -- his final regular-season start against the Nationals and his Division Series start against the Pirates -- he carried a no-hitter two outs into the ninth (before Ryan Zimmerman's infield-chop hit) and one out into the eighth (before Pedro Alvarez's 9,000- or 15,000-foot home run).
So if you've always wanted to know the answer to this question that has stumped mankind -- or at least pitcher-kind -- for ages, Wacha is the man to answer it.
"Definitely the chopper," he said. "Definitely not the home run -- there went the ERA. Definitely not the home run into our hotel -- 15,000 feet away."
Either way, the two hits hardly took away from Wacha's brilliance. And it's that brilliance that could be a big factor in this Cardinals-Dodgers NLCS, given that Wacha and Kershaw match up in Game 2, and could well meet again in a Game 6.
"I try not to think much about who I'm going against," Wacha said. "I just try to throw zeroes up there as much as I can."
If those zeroes remain in the hit column, too, so much the better.
Wacha has noticed that he has been part of a trend this postseason, with more and more teams relying on kids with not even a full season in the big leagues in the most important games of the year.
Wacha pitched and won Game 4 against the Pirates, when the Cardinals were facing elimination. Gerrit Cole started Game 5 for the Pirates against the Cardinals, and Sonny Gray was set to start Game 5 for the A's Thursday night against the Tigers.
"It just seems like a lot of young pitchers are pitching with confidence," Wacha said.
Wacha certainly has confidence.
Enough confidence to joke about 15,000-foot home runs.