(Busch Stadium) For the first time since April 8th the St. Louis Cardinals find themselves at the .500 mark as their 8-2 loss to Kansas City resulted in a 24-24 record. The loss in their tenth in the last twelve games.
Starter Michael Wacha went 4.2 innings and allowed six earned runs on seven hits. Since returning from the injured list after a bout with left patellar tendinitis, Wacha has made five starts and allowed 18 earned runs on 30 hits in 25.1 innings.
Both the pitcher and manager confirmed there is no physical issue at play.
And when asked specifically how much longer the team could stay with Wacha in the rotation, Mike Shildt took the opportunity to expand the need for change to the entire team.
“We gotta look at it,” he said. “Clearly, I don’t want to be knee jerk right now, but we can’t continue, just in total, something’s got to change. I can’t alibi it. Got reasons, got sound reason but reality is we’re not getting it done right now. Ultimately, it’s a group that we’ll all take ownership, but I’ve gotta take ownership too. I’ve got to figure out something and I’ve got to lead better evidently.”
The Cardinals had only one hit through seven innings, a single by Matt Wieters, and left seven runners on base in total.
Because of the double header, the Cardinals clubhouse was not open, which meant Michael Wacha and Wieters were brought into the press area while their manager was still fielding questions, including the subject of a potential change to the rotation.
“Listen, we’re always going to evaluate our team,” said Shildt, with a more sharpened tone than earlier in the day. “I can’t say there won’t be a change. I can’t say there’s going to be a change. I’ve literally been off the field for three minutes or five minutes before coming in here. We constantly assess. I can tell you what I won’t do right now is pin anything on what’s going on on one particular person. And it definitely won’t be Michael Wacha because this guy throws it out there like nobody’s business. He won’t alibi anything, nor will I but this is about our work in total. Any conversation about change will be related to what we do as a group. Will it affect individuals, yeah. But it’s a general statement.”
With Shildt seated in the background, Wacha was later asked if he needed to pitch better to retain his spot in the rotation.
“Yeah, for sure,” Wacha answered. “The way I’ve been pitching, it’s unacceptable. I know that I’ve got to be able to pitch better because right now, I don’t know. It’s a tough spot. You don’t want…I don’t know. It’s tough. You’ve got to be able to pitch well to stay in this league and right now I have not been pitching well. I have to do a better job.”
Kansas City scored six of their eight runs in the third inning, the big blast coming on a three-run homer by Jorge Soler.
“You look at that inning, even the pitch to Soler wasn’t poorly executed,” Wieters defended. “That’s where I made a poor read of okay he may be looking out over the plate. Out of the span of those six runs, it really happened within the 15 pitches and a lot of them were pitches that found holes and weren’t even in the middle of the plate”
Adam Wainwright (3-4) will face Homer Bailey (4-4) in the second game of the double header. First pitch is 6:45pm.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI