The 22-year-old rookie who burst on the major league scene with the poise of a veteran failed on baseball’s biggest stage.
He looked nothing like the hard-throwing right-hander who shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates once in the NL division series, the Los Angeles Dodgers twice in the NL championship series where he was the MVP, and the Red Sox in Game 2 of the World Series.
When he needed to save the season of the team that tied the Red Sox for most regular-season wins, he couldn’t.
And that ended a trip to Boston that started poorly.
The Cardinals‘ flight from St. Louis on Tuesday took off about 9:10 p.m., roughly six hours late, and arrived shortly after 11 p.m.
“Nobody is in a bad mood or anything like that,” Wacha said in a conference call from the plane, a few hours into the delay. “The attitude is pretty good.”
Then the plane landed.
The six runs Wacha allowed were twice as many as he gave up in his other four postseason games combined. The five hits he allowed were nearly half the 11 he gave up in his other 23 postseason innings.
And, like the St. Louis other starting pitchers, he got little support.
The Cardinals led the NL with 4.8 runs per game but scored only 14 runs in the World Series, an average of 2.3. In the six games against Boston, they hit .224 and batted .167 with runners in scoring position.
One of the biggest culprits was 2011 World Series MVP David Freese. He went 3 for 19 with seven strikeouts and no RBIs.
Wacha actually started out well Wednesday.
In the first inning, he struck out Jacoby Ellsbury, got Dustin Pedroia on a grounder to second and walked David Ortiz, not a bad idea considering Ortiz entered the game batting .733 in the Series. Then he fanned Mike Napoli.