The St. Louis Cardinals held off the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 2-1 victory in Pittsburgh in large part to Michael Wacha’s near no-hitter and Matt Holliday’s 2 run blast. This is Wacha’s first postseason start and this 6’6″ rookie is making quite a name for himself in Major League Baseball. Wacha was a first round pick (19th overall) out of Texas A&M in the 2012 draft. A pick which the Cardinals received from the Los Angeles Angels for the signing of Albert Pujols.
Wacha, 22, made 11 appearances in 2012, making it all the way to AA Springfield. 2 of his 11 appearances were starts and his 2012 statistics looked a little like this..
2012: 21 innings pitched, 4 walks, 2 earned runs and a whopping 40 strikeouts with an ERA of 0.86.
This gave plenty of reason for Cardinal fans to be excited about their young arm and he continued his success this season at AAA Memphis in 15 starts posting an ERA of 2.65, 73 K’s and 19 walks in 85 innings.
St. Louis had brought Wacha up a few times this season and he made 15 appearances, 9 for starts for the red birds and just keeps dealing. He’s averaging a K per inning and his ERA sat at a nice 2.78 by the years end. His 15th MLB appearance was probably the most notable of his career almost no hitting the Washington Nationals… Up until today, facing elimination against the Pirates and at PNC Park, he picked up where he left off. Wacha carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning up until third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit a pitch into the seats, bringing Pittsburgh a run closer to tying the game. Ultimately the Pirates fell short in what was quite a pitchers duel between Wacha and Charlie Morton.
The series will go to a very exciting game 5 which will be played in St. Louis on Wednesday 10/9. The winner will play either the Dodgers or Braves in the NLCS.
Entering the 2013 baseball season, there appears to be a little competition at the Braves spring training camp. Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco are in a battle for the everyday third baseman job. And both Johnson and Francisco are having good springs. Who should claim the job? It seems possible that the Braves could platoon them at third, but as a fan, I’d like to see one guy prove he can handle the job by himself.
Chris Johnson, a career .276 hitter, was acquired this offseason in the Justin Upton trade that sent him packing from Arizona to Atlanta. Last season in 136 games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Houston Astros, Johnson hit a slash line of .281/.326/.451 coupled with 15 dingers and 76 runs batted in. He provided much needed pop toward the end of the season for the Dbacks on their quest to try and birth a wild card spot. He had pretty average defense at the position committing 19 errors in 127 games for a .940 fielding percentage. He’s the type of player that works hard to try and become better ball player. This spring, in 9 games Johnson is hitting .364 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI’s and only striking out once. I feel Chris Johnson is an underrated player in the MLB and this could be his season to show everyone what he can do.
Juan Francisco, acquired in a deal that sent him to the Braves for right hander J.J. Hoover from the Cincinnati Reds. Francisco struggled a bit with the Reds and out of minor league options; they traded him rather than putting him on waivers and risking a claim. In 93 games last season he hit .234 with an on base percentage of .278, only walking 11 times in that span. He does have power potential but in order to see more playing time he needs to show patience at the plate and be more selective with his swings. He owned a .935 fielding % with 6 errors in 49 games at third base. This spring he is hitting .360 with 1HR and 4 RBI’s and striking out 4 times in 9 games.
Both players are almost dead even in spring training with no clear favorite. If I had to guess, it would be that Chris Johnson out plays Juan Francisco for the job and doing so early on. Should be an exciting year for the Braves. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued!
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