Michael Wacha's Struggles and Today's Solid Matchup for the Cubs and Other Bullets

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Michael Wacha’s Struggles and Today’s Solid Matchup for the Cubs and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

michael wacha cardinalsThe Wife and I are in Chicago because we’ll be going to Game 3 at Wrigley Field today. I’m pretty excited to get to share the experience with her, and maybe we’ll see some of you out in the bleachers – we’re out in center field under The Old Scoreboard. Before the game, we’ll probably grab a drink somewhere, and then hopefully we’ll all be out celebrating thereafter. Keep an eye on the Twitter feed for updates if you want to meet up.

Speaking of the game today, it finally got an official start time late last night as the Blue Jays beat the Rangers – 5pm CT.

  • And speaking further of the game today, it has become impossible not to feel supremely confident about a Jake Arrieta start, no matter the opponent. I try very hard to guard against this feeling – you see it swirling out there – that today’s game is a lock, and the Cardinals cannot possibly win. Arrieta is right now pitching, perhaps, like the very best pitcher in history (how crazy is it that I can say that without it being hyperbole?), but crazy things do happen. The Cubs have a huge advantage going into today’s game. I’m content to leave it at that. More on Arrieta and the Cardinals coming soon.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Cubs probably have another advantage, having had so much success this year against Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (as I’ve mentioned before: there’s a reason the Cardinals wanted to go with John Lackey first and Jaime Garcia second). As a team, the Cubs have hit .301/.376/.542 against Wacha this year. Moreover, as Wacha blew past his innings total from last year, his effectiveness waned dramatically. On the year, Wacha posted a 3.38/3.87/3.88 ERA/FIP/xFIP line, but in September, he was at 7.88/7.84/5.03. His strikeout rate fell to just 17.0%, and his walk rate exploded to 16.1%. Partly for that reason, and partly to get him rest, Wacha has not started a game since September 30 – that was two weeks ago. Perhaps that will leave him fresh and rested for today, perhaps he’ll be rusty, or perhaps he’ll just continue to be bad. Either way, his leash will be incredibly short. Wacha is also coming into this game having had this as his last playoff appearance.
  • You are reminded, by the way: Michael Wacha was an All-Star this year. Jake Arrieta was not. The All-Star Game is fun and all that, but boy is it not really reflective of much.
  • Sahadev Sharma takes a deep dive with Kris Bryant on his recent struggles.
  • Joe Torre says in an interview about the Chase Utley suspension that players will be working on (will it be a rule?) sliding directly into the base in the Arizona Fall League.
  • The Cubs had a breakfast buffet on the field at Wrigley yesterday (Cubs.com). Perhaps more notably in that article, Joe Maddon hasn’t announced the plan for Game Four’s starter just yet. It could be Jason Hammel, it could be a bullpen game, or it could be Jon Lester on short rest (though I think that one is unlikely).
  • If you missed it earlier: your weekend catch-up, playoff action yesterday, and the Cubs made a roster move.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.