After yesterday’s game in which three hits—one a monster dinger from Matt Holliday—proved to be enough to scrape by the struggling Rays, Michael Wacha takes the mound tonight looking for the sweep. In his last start against the Kansas City Royals, Wacha went 6 innings allowing three earned run on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout. Wacha took a loss in that game and dropped his season record to a pedestrian 4-4 in 13 starts. However, Wacha’s record does not reflect the season he’s been having so far, as he has not given up more than three earned runs in any start nor has his ERA been higher than 2.85 at any point and now sits at 2.61. The periphery numbers further strengthen Wacha’s case as the Redbirds number two starter behind Adam Wainwright as his WHIP sits at an impressive 1.08 and batters are only hitting a miniscule .223 against him.
Opposing Wacha on the bump tomorrow night and looking to end a 1-14 streak for the Rays is Erik Bedard. A league journeyman playing with his fifth team during 11 years in the bigs, Bedard is a consistent pitcher but nothing spectacular. Many may remember Bedard from his remarkable 2007 season in which he went 13-5 with 221 strikeouts in only 186 innings. Since then though, Bedard has been unable to recreate those numbers while bouncing around the league and spending time in the minors. This season Bedard has already been sent down to the minors and sports a 3.61 ERA with a 3-4 record with the big league club. Bedard is a groundball pitcher though and the Rays tendency to shift drastically should play into this strength against the pull-heavy Cards.
The Skinny: Wacha obviously has the upper hand in this pitching matchup as he is the more consistent pitcher and has outperformed Bedard in every aspect this season. Yet the Cardinals are coming off of a game where they only managed three hits against a weak Rays’ staff while the Rays relatively exploded for eight hits against the Cards ace. If Bedard can come out in 2007 form and the Rays offense continues to improve, tonight’s game could get interesting, but the Redbirds still have every advantage in this game against the weakest team in the MLB.