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Wacha Win--Rookie Troika--Revives Cards--Series, Tied at 1, moves to St. Louis

The changeup is the go-to pitch for rookie Michael Wacha and he went to it on his 103rd pitch in the 6th inning with Pedroia on first and one out and a full count on Big Papi; but, he left it a little higher than he wanted and the Sox DH stroked it gracefully and it traveled into the front row of the Monster seats near Center field that put the home team ahead 2-1.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at St. Louis CardinalsIt looked like the rookie Wacha would fail in his mission to revive the Cardinals, after their humiliating loss in Game One.

 

Result

MPH

Pitch

     NF

   BRK

   PFX

1 Ball 92 4-Seam Fastball      86     2.7     12
2 Foul 91 4-Seam Fastball      45     2.2     14
3 Ball 84 Changeup      20     6      7
4 Foul 85 Changeup      50     6.4      7
5 Ball In Dirt 86 Changeup      19     6.5      7
6 In play, run(s) 85 Changeup      45     6.8      6

 

Applying the NF [1], BRK, and PFX [2] codes, we note that the pitch that Ortiz hit out was an 85 MPH Changeup that had the most “break” of the 6 that Wacha launched; it moved 6.8 inches from the point between the release point and the front of home plate, and the straight line path from the release point and the front of home plate.

 

For Wacha, was not a badly thrown pitch, but it was poorly located; Ortiz had guessed correctly and timed his swing to react to the break of the pitch.

Wacha:  “I didn’t have the command I would have liked.  I just left it up…changeup up…I made a mistake and he made me pay for it.”

VIDEO: http://wapc.mlb.com/bos/play/?topic_id=8878860&c_id=bos&content_id=31176009

After throwing 114 pitches [65 strikes], Wacha returned to the visitor’s dugout with an L hanging from a chain on his neck. Then capricious Luck sat down on the his bench; the rook watched the L turn into a W, when his team struck for 3 runs against Lackey in the 7th.

The phenom, who had not given up a run in 19 innings in the Post-season, gave up 2 on the Ortiz HR, but just 3 hits to Boston’s Bashers in 6 innings.

“We’re facing a guy that’s been unbelievable,” said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “We’ve got to try to come out and find a way to win that ballgame. … He’s got great stuff. Everyone’s seen what he’s done in the postseason and since he’s been in the big leagues.”

After he gave up the lead to the Cards [3-2], Lackey handed the ball off to Breslow, who coughed up another run [4-2]; then Tazawa and Workman got the other 2 outs.

In a turnabout, the Sox defense broke down and the Cards took full advantage with aggressive base running [double steal] that forced an error.

Manager Matheny ran his righty rookie Carlos Martinez in from the pen. The 22 year-old rookie flashed his electric arm [96-97] MPH and his heaters had good slice; his slider was running sharp and deep and he set the Sox down 1-2-3 on 10 pitches in the bottom of the 7th.

Martinez was undermined by an error by 2b Carpenter that put Ellsbury on First base., but the Freshman froze Victorino with an 83 MPH curve for a K with just 3 pitches.

Result

MPH

Pitch

NF

BRK

PFX

1 Foul 96 2-Seam Fastball 44 6.4 9
2 Foul Tip 95 2-Seam Fastball 46 7.1 7
3 Called Strike 83 Curveball 34 10.5 13

Pedroia was baffled by Martinez’ sweeping curve that broke from the RH batter’s box to nip the back of the plate. [2 out]

Ortiz hit a shot into the shift and, with 2b Carpenter playing on the edge of the OF, for a single.

With 2 out and 2 on, Napoli had a chance to do some damage, but he swung late on a 95 MPH 4-seam heater and popped out to SS Kozma.

Result

MPH

Pitch

NF

BRK

PFX

1 Called Strike 96 4-Seam Fastball 47 5.3 9
2 Ball 95 4-Seam Fastball 38 5.6 7
3 In play, out(s) 95 4-Seam Fastball 63 5.6 8

Farrell went to his closer, Koji Uehara who needed just pitches to dismiss the Cards 1-2-3.

Leading 4-2, Matheny went to his closer, RHP Trevor Rosenthal, to close the door on the Sox.  He took over as closer in the second half of September, when Mojica began to falter.

In his previous 5 Post-season innings, Rosenthal had not allowed a run.

Beltran’s injury from his heroic leap against the Cardinal bullpen fence turned out to be minor and he came back to knock in 2 runs and lead St. Louis:

“[The trainers] gave me some pain killers.”

The Red Sox got their patented Ortiz HR and Lackey provided a Quality Start that gave his team an opportunity to win, but the mighty Sox offense managed just 4 total hits against the dazzling and dominating Rookie Troika–Wacha, Martinez, and Rosenthal.

St. Louis Pitching

Pitchers

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Wacha (W, 1-0)

6.0

3

2

2

4

6

1

3.00

Martinez, C (H, 1)

2.0

1

0

0

0

3

0

3.00

Rosenthal (S, 1)

1.0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0.00

The win gave Wacha a 4-0 Post-season record.

After what could have been a demoralizing loss in Game One, “The Nightmare on Yawkey Way,” the Cardinals “turned the page” and these consummate professional ballplayers evened the series and can now take a breath, take flight and look forward to 3 games before the home crowd.

“We had a wake-up call,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “This is not the kind of team that we’ve been all season. And they’re frustrated. I’m sure embarrassed, to a point. We get an opportunity to show the kind of baseball we played all season long and it didn’t look anything like what we saw tonight.”

BOX: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?c_id=bos&gid=2013_10_24_slnmlb_bosmlb_1&lang=en&mode=box#gid=2013_10_24_slnmlb_bosmlb_1&mode=box

Possible outcomes:

  • Cards sweep the 3 games in St. Louis and win the WS.
  • Cards win 2, lose 1 and need to win just 1 of 2 at Fenway.
  • Cards win 1, lose 2 and need to win both games at Fenway.

To paraphrase HOF SS, the classy gentleman with the quick wrists, Ernie Banks:

“Let’s play SEVEN!”

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[1]  “NF’ in MLB stands for ‘Nasty Factor’. The Nasty Factor evaluates several properties of each pitch, and rates the “nastiness” of the pitch on a scale from 0-100, based in part on the success or failure of opposing hitters against previous similar pitches. The Nasty Factor incorporates several different factors for each pitch, including: Velocity, Sequence, Location, and Movement. The Nasty Factor also adjusts for how often the pitcher has faced the current batter during the game, as well as how often he has used the same pitch type against the same batter in the current at-bat and previously in the game.”

[http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_nf_stand_for_in_MLB_gameday]

[2]  Q: What are the PFX and BRK values?

A: “Break” is the greatest distance between the trajectory of the pitch at any point between the release point and the front of home plate, and the straight line path from the release point and the front of home plate.

“Pitch-f/x” is the distance between the location of the actual pitch thrown over the plate, and the calculated location of a ball thrown by the pitcher in the same way, with no spin. Or, in more common terms, this is the amount of “movement” the pitcher applies to the pitch. A faster, straighter pitch like a fastball will have a higher Pitch-f/x value than a slower, breaking ball like a curveball, which will have a higher Break value.

 

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Tags: 2013 World Series Boston Red Sox Michael Wacha St. Louis Cardinals

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