Michael Wacha is gathering dust as the Cardinals’ forgotten man

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Last postseason Shelby Miller was the young, high-upside pitcher ignored by the Cardinals in the playoffs, but this time around it’s Michael Wacha.

Wacha thrived in last year’s postseason as a rookie and was great again this season until shoulder problems sidelined him in mid-June. He returned in September to make four starts, but struggled and has not appeared in a game this postseason despite being on the roster.

So what role is he filling, exactly? Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Wacha is serving as the “extra-inning reliever.” In other words, if the game goes crazy long and the Cardinals run out of pitchers they trust, they’d toss Wacha out there to go as long as he can.

Goold reports that Wacha has told Matheny he’s capable of pitching in a normal relief role, multiple days at a time, but “with each day he’s not used the team becomes less likely to use him because he’s gathered rust.”

He hasn’t pitched in a game since September 26.

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.