(Busch Stadium) Physically, both Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals have clearly stated the right-hander is healthy. But mechanical issues again came into play as ten batters came to the plate for Chicago in the 1st inning, which resulted in the Cubs plating 6 runs en route to a 12-3 win on Tuesday.
“It’s a pretty discouraging start,” said Wacha afterwards. “I never really gave the team a chance to win a ballgame with that 1st inning there, it wasn’t very good.”
“Leaving the ball up in the zone and not controlling the counts–seems like the count’s always in their favor,” assessed Wacha as the common trait with those outings. “I’ve just got to get back to the way I like to pitch and that’s pounding the strike zone, down in the zone.”
Getting back to that form has been elusive for Wacha, who has identified the problem but has not gotten the repetition to consistently see the results.
“Just a little arm drag–not getting the arm up in the right position to get the ball down in the zone,” he explained. “I feel it sometimes, where I get it there. Just got to get it there on a consistent basis.”
Since suffering a scapular stress fracture, Wacha has worked to strengthen the surrounding muscles to help prevent a recurrence.
“I don’t think my arm slot has changed,” he answered if that strength training could have affected his arm slot. “I feel like it’s still in the same spot–I’ve watched video from the past years and it seems like it’s in the same spot.”
After the 1st inning, Wacha gained some traction as he struck out four batters in the next two innings.
“I think he found something today,” stated Matheny, encouraging patience to the next start. “I think what he showed on the back end of this is a good sign.”
“100%,” agreed Wacha. “I feel those spurts, like I was saying, where I feel good–staying on top of the ball and getting that arm up in the right ready position to throw the ball. I’ve just got to do that on a consistent basis.”
–Tyler Lyons threw 3.0 scoreless innings of relief to help preserve the bullpen. He allowed two hits, walked two batters, and struck out four in his third appearance of at least 3.0 innings this season. Lyons is now tied with Seung Hwan Oh with 23.2 innings of relief–tops on the team.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI