(BaseballStL) — How many more times can a rookie deliver in the most high pressure situations? Michael Wacha is a year removed from college, and he’s making his second World Series start. For his second turn on the hill, there are no higher stakes. It’s win or go home, and St. Louis just got to Boston for Game 6.
It will be a chance for revenge for the Red Sox, who were held in check by the 22-year-old in Game 2. Apart from one swing by David Ortiz, Boston simply couldn’t get to Wacha. This time they hope to learn from their struggles.
“The one thing that will clearly be different is at least some familiarity,“ said manager John Farrell. “You can watch all the video you want, read all the scouting reports that you want, but until a guy stands in the box and sees the flight of the baseball and feels the velocity and feels the action to that change-up, that's the best information they can have as they step in there.”
Wacha has earned the respect of his opposition. Mixing a fastball and change up at will, and throwing downhill from a 6-foot-6 frame, his inexperience has yet to catch up with him.
“He's good. The bottom line, no way about it. There's no reason to sit here and think any differently. He's good. He's a 22-year-old kid that's having fun, I think most importantly,” said Shane Victorino Wednesday. “That's what it's all about when you play this game. You've got to have fun doing it. He pitches out of the same arm slot with an effective change-up, fastball combination. He mixes that curveball in there just to give you that extra thought.”
The Cardinals need the Red Sox to continue having second thoughts at the plate, as the Redbird offense has struggled through much of the series.
Dustin Pedroia, who was one of only three Red Sox to get a hit off Wacha, said before Game 6 the speed of adjustments for hitters make will be the deciding factor.
“We're trying to make adjustments, pitch by pitch, because we haven't seen him,” he said. “That part can be hard when he has overpowering stuff. Hopefully this time around we have better at-bats than last time and try to make our adjustments quicker.”
Wacha's dominance will be immaterial if he gets no support. In their three losses, the Cardinals have scored only three runs total.