We’re on the verge of history at Busch Stadium.
Making good use of his vicious changeup and high-90s fastball, Cardinals rookie right-hander Michael Wacha has no-hit the visiting Washington Nationals through the top of the seventh inning. The Cardinals will carry a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the frame.
Wacha has yielded just two baserunners — the first on a booted groundball by second baseman Matt Carpenter and the second on a Ryan Zimmerman walk to open the seventh inning. We’ll provide regular updates as the 22-year-old tries to finish this off. He has only thrown 86 pitches to this point and needs just six more outs.
Bud Smith, also a rookie at the time, threw the last Cardinals no-hitter back in 2001.
The Nats were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday but trotted out their standard lineup.
UPDATE, 10:11 p.m. ET: Wacha surrendered a leadoff walk to Adam LaRoche in the top of the eighth but induced a double play groundball from Wilson Ramos. Anthony Rendon then flew out to left field. Wacha has only three outs left — he’s at 99 pitches — and the Cards lead 2-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth.
UPDATE, 10:24 p.m. ET: Wacha got an easy groundout to short from pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi to open the top of the ninth and then struck out Denard Span for the second out. The third batter of the inning, Ryan Zimmerman, hit a bouncer that went over Wacha’s head. Pete Kozma tried to field it quickly and make the throw but wound up pulling first baseman Matt Adams off the bag. It was ruled an infield hit for Zimmerman and Wacha was pulled immediately after. Trevor Rosenthal closed out the 2-0 win.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.