There is no way around it; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha is a breakout star in the 2013 postseason. It started with a great showing in the NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates and it continued with him out-dueling Clayton Kershaw for a win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. His amazing run has served as proof that he is certainly the real deal and yes, he has a bright future. Do not look for his stellar performance thus far in the playoffs to continue as it has in NLCS game six however.
He will face Kershaw once again at home but this time he will have the chance to send the Cardinals to the World Series. I doubt Wacha will feel more pressure in that game than he did in the first NLCS game of his career a short time ago, but the nerves should matter little. What will matter is that it is nearly impossible to expect Wacha to keep shutting out every single foe he faces. It isn’t going to continue as he is bound to face a struggling start eventually.
With the Dodgers offense waking up in the last few games, Wacha might look to have that struggling start in the coming game six. That doesn’t mean he won’t pitch well or even be in position for a win. What it does mean is that the Cardinals better figure out how to score some crooked runs against Kershaw fairly early. They have been very tenacious at times against the Dodgers and that is what they need to do in game six.
The key will be to put the bat on the ball if at all possible and force the defense to back up their ace. Kershaw has given up a few runs and most every one of them has been unearned. Those count as well as any of course and that is why the Cards need to put the ball in play. There is a higher likelihood of them scoring runs because of defensive miscues by the Dodgers than to simply wait on a Kershaw mistake because they are probably not going to get many. If they want Wacha to take it home, they need runs for sure.