St. Louis, MO, United States (4E Sports) – After helping the St. Louis Cardinals clinch a spot in the World Series, rookie starter Michael Wacha has been named the NLCS Most Valuable Player.
The 22-year-old Wacha became the youngest NLCS MVP Award winner since 21-year-old Steve Avery of the Braves in 1991 and the first rookie to win a postseason series MVP Award since then-Marlins sensation Livan Hernandez in the 1997 World Series.
The former Texas A&M standout was first rookie to start and win an NLCS clinching game since the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
“They like to give us rookies [grief] about not being in the Minors for so long. They’re like, ‘You haven’t even been down there a day,’” Wacha said. “It’s been a crazy ride, for sure.
“To get that [NLCS MVP] award, I feel so blessed. I wouldn’t even be in here without a lot of these guys. They’re making plays, they’re getting timely hits. It’s fun being in this group,” he added.
In his past four starts, Wacha is 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA, allowing one earned run in 29 2/3 innings, with nine hits, six walks and 31 strikeouts.
Against the Nationals on Sept. 24, Wacha’s ninth Major League start, he didn’t allow a hit until Ryan Zimmerman chopped a single over the pitcher’s mound.
In Game 4 of the NL Division Series against the Pirates, with the Cardinals facing elimination, Wacha didn’t allow a hit until the eighth inning.
In the NLCS. Wacha was matched up twice against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, the presumptive NL Cy Young Award winner.
In those two showdowns, Wacha prevailed, holding the NL West champs scoreless over 13 2/3 innings, with seven hits and two walks against 13 strikeouts in those two games.
In Game 2, Wacha scattered five hits over 6 2/3 innings thanks in part to eight strikeouts and in Game 6, he gave up only two hits, one walk and five strikeouts.
“Since he joined the ballclub, all he has done is given us an opportunity to win ballgames,” said Carlos Beltran said. “You guys are going to hear a lot from that kid, because that kid is very special.”
With Wacha expected to start Game 2 of the World Series, the Cardinals are hoping that he continues his success on the mound.