(BaseballStL) -- Michael Wacha and Charlie Morton face off in Game 4 of the NLDS, a must-win game for St. Louis. While the rookie Wacha will be making the most pressure-filled start of his career, Morton also faces a tough test: The Cardinal offense has absolutely pounded him this season.
St. Louis has put up 12 earned runs and 23 hits on Morton in his 13.2 innings against them.
Morton is no power pitcher. In his 116 innings pitched, he has only struck out 85 hitters.
Lefties start drooling when he's on the hill, as they hit .312 against him. Righties struggle, putting up a paltry .223 average.
Hitters would be served well to get on him early. Batters are averaging .462 on the first pitch, and things get very rough if the counts get in his favor. 0-2, 1-2 and 2-2 batters hit less than .200.
Morton favors his curveball as an out pitch. When the count is 0-2 or 1-2, he throws it more than 40 percent of the time, according to Brooks Baseball.
Numbers would suggest he doesn't pitch well out of the stretch. Batters hit .274 with an OPS of .744 when there are runners on base.
Most importantly, he gets worse the longer he goes in 2013. Longer at-bats will be key for the Cardinals. Here's why:
Pitches 26-50: Hitters post a .272 average.
Pitches 51-75: Hitters post a .274 average.
Pitches 76-100: Hitters post a .282 average.
He has only had three at-bats this year on pitches 101+. He gave up two hits.
Wacha keeps lefties in check, pushing their average below the Mendoza line to .197. Righties fare better, posting a .242 average.
In his nine innings against Pittsburgh, he allowed two hits and stuck out six.
Getting ahead is crucial for Wacha. After a first pitch strike, his opponent's average drops to .205. 1-1 is dangerous territory, hitters post a .480 average against him.
He keeps the middle of the order tied up. The 4, 5, and 6 hitters are all batting less than .200.
The seventh spot in the order seems to love him though, batting .423.
He has showed poise with men on base. No one has a hit against him with the bases loaded yet, and batters are only 9-for-40 with runners in scoring position.