Despite leadoff troubles, Wacha holds off Reds for first win of season

Despite leadoff troubles, Wacha holds off Reds for first win of season

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Despite leadoff troubles, Wacha holds off Reds for first win of season

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by JJ Bailey / BaseballStL | @TheJJBailey

KMOV.com

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 7 at 6:41 PM

(BaseballStL) —  Michael Wacha continued where he left off in Cincinnati, holding the rival Reds to just one inning during his start Monday. 

The 22-year-old threw six innings in the home opener, holding Cincinnati to seven hits and one run in 82 pitches. 

 

Want more from the home opener on your phone? Click here. 

In the previous matchup, he mixed his curveball in early and often, throwing nearly as many breakers as change ups. Monday, he was much more dependent on his bread and butter, throwing 39 fastballs and 22 change ups compared to just nine curves, five of which came in his last two innings of work.

Wacha did feature his cutter steadily, mixing 12 in with the rest of his offerings. 

Despite low damage in the run column, the start wasn’t without its blemishes. The leadoff man reached four out of six times against the righty, making the day a bit rocky. 

“I felt like I was throwing out of the stretch the whole game today,” he said. “I have to do a better job of getting that leadoff guy out.” 

Two double plays helped Wacha dodge serious damage, and kept the young starter in the game. 

“Those weren’t easy plays that they were making, I mean a couple times those double plays came in big situations,” he said. “Those guys really kept me in the game and them off the scoreboard.” 

In the third, a 5-4-3 double play kept Brayan Pena from scoring. Kolten Wong snatched a Brendan Phillips liner in the fifth to prevent another run. He also gobbled up a laser from Jay Bruce in the sixth. 

Though the Reds threatened a few times, they only got to the young Cardinal for one run, brought on by a combination of doubles in the fifth inning. Pena was the star of the Cincinnati offense doubling twice off the St. Louis starter and being the sole Reds player to cross the plate against him. 

Prior to Pena scoring, the Reds had not marked against Wacha in 21 innings. 

While the defense deserved every bit of the praise they received from their starter, Mike Matheny had plenty to say in support of his young star.

“He just seemed to make the right pitches at the right time when he had to,” the Cardinal manager said. “I know he’s not taking lightly the leadoff guy, but that’s something he hasn’t had much of a problem with in the past and I don’t see it happening much going forward.”

Jon Jay would pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth to end Wacha’s day, which concluded with three strikeouts and one walk. His ERA on the season is now .71 with a WHIP of .95 in 12.2 innings pitched. 

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