Michael Wacha, remember that name.
The 22-year-old Cardinals rookie put together another standout postseason start, shutting down the Dodgers and bettering presumptive National League Cy Young-winner Clayton Kershaw in the process. The Cardinals’ 1-0 victory Saturday afternoon gave them a 2-0 lead in the NLCS as the series heads to Los Angeles on Monday.
The closest the Dodgers came to scoring off Wacha was when they loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Fittingly Kershaw started the rally with a leadoff single. However Wacha fanned Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe to end the threat. It meant Jon Jay’s fifth-inning sac-fly that scored David Freese held up.
Wacha is now in Bob Gibson 1968-World Series territory, having allowed only one run in 14 postseason innings. In his first start, Monday against the Pirates, he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning until Pedro Alvarez broke it up with a home run.
Meanwhile the Dodgers haven’t scored since the the third inning of Game 1, a span of 19 innings. Puig finished with the golden sombrero going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Kershaw went six, allowing two hits and one unearned run. The Dodgers’ lefty twice allowed a leadoff runner to reach third, both times he didn’t allow that runner to score.
Talk about tough-luck loss.
There’s more bad news for the Dodgers. Hanley Ramirez didn’t play Saturday and might have a rib-cage injury, which would keep him out of the rest of the series.