(BaseballStL) -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny spent 13 years as a big league catcher before becoming a manager almost two years ago, so he’s seen a lot when it comes to baseball.
But Michael Wacha’s one-hit outing over 8 2/3 innings clearly left an impression on his manager on Tuesday.
“Who?” Matheny jokingly said.
When asked to describe the performance, Matheny replied, “Wow, you can’t. The stuff, the composure and just watching him in the ninth. He was able to tune everything out. For a kid to do that against a lineup like this during this time of the season, it’s hard to really get your head around it. But man, that was some kind of fun to watch.”
Matheny stood beaming with pride after witnessing his rookie pitcher, and possibly one day the team’s future ace, come within one out of his first no-hitter at any level. Still, he knew there was a game to be won, which led him to call upon reliever Trevor Rosenthal to record the final out.
“We’re trying to make sure we have our bases covered, but you also don’t want to get in the way of what’s going on there and out-think it,” Matheny said. “We realize there’s something special. It’s a balance in the fact that it’s a big time of year for us. It’s a big game.”
When taking questions from the media, Matheny was anxious to step away from the podium and let Wacha, who was standing behind the cameras and away from the limelight for the time being, get his chance to talk about the remarkable outing.
Wacha, who stands 6-foot-6, reacted with a head roll when his manager seemingly poked a little fun knowing the young stud pitcher was in the room when he said he thought his “6-foot-8’ pitcher had a chance to make the play that went for the Nationals’ only hit of the game.
Shortly after, Matheny introduced Wacha to the podium to take questions.
He could have left the room while Wacha said all of the right things to reporters, but Matheny stood almost in the exact spot his starter stood when he was speaking to listen in. He wanted to hear more about what Wacha thought of the one-hit outing.
As Wacha finished his press conference, the 43-year-old manager smiled at his 22-year-old pitcher and gave him a pat on the back as if to say ‘you did great, kid.’
Scott Bierman covers the Cardinals, Rams and Blues for KMOV.com and its associated mobile apps (BaseballStL, FootballStL and HockeyStL). You can follow him on Twitter @Scott_Bierman for St. Louis sports news.