Wacha will go home as the MVP of the National League Championship Series, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. The 22-year-old rookie tossed 13.2 shutout innings over two starts against the Dodgers in Games 2 and 6, allowing just seven hits and two walks while striking out 13. Wacha, of course, pitched seven crucial innings in Game 6, the catalyst that sent the Cardinals to the World Series for the second time in three years.
Wacha has been nothing short of phenomenal for the Cardinals since making his Major League debut on May 30. He was their first round pick, going 19th overall in the 2012 draft. The Dodgers, coincidentally enough, picked Corey Seager one slot ahead of Wacha — though they are certainly not disappointed with their selection.
In three post-season starts, Wacha has gone at least six and two-thirds innings, has allowed no more than one run, and allowed five or fewer hits.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Wacha is the third rookie to win the MVP award in the League Championship Series and is the first since Livan Hernandez in 1997 with the Florida Marlins.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.