The Tampa Bay Rays have a new pitcher on their staff and his name is Michael Wacha.
When he debuted in 2013, the 21 year old Wacha looked like a phenom in the making as he carved through opposing lineups with ease. Injuries, unfortunately, have kept him from realizing that potential.
Nonetheless, Wacha is just 29 years old and will join a very talented Rays pitching staff. In honor of the Rays latest signing, let’s take a look back at the top five performances of Wacha’s Major League career.
5. September 10th, 2017
79 Game Score
On a Sunday afternoon during the waning days of the 2017 season, not many players would have a better day than Michael Wacha had after taking the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates. During his performance, Wacha sliced through the Pirates lineup and at one point, he had struck out six of the past nine batters that he had faced.
Overall, Wacha pitched a total of eight innings, yielding just five hits while he struck out seven and walked none before giving way to John Gant to close out the game
4. October 7th, 2013
79 Game Score
During the 2013 National League Division Series, the Cardinals trailed the Pirates, two games to one in the best of five series. They were facing elimination, and turned to their phenomenal rookie, Wacha, to keep their hopes alive.
Wacha would not let the best fans in baseball down. He walked Russell Martin but did not yield a single hit until the bottom of the 8th when Pedro Alvarez was able to smack one over the fence to end the no-hit bid.
Overall, Wacha allowed just that one hit, walked two, and struck out nine before leaving the game following the Alvarez homerun. The Cardinals went on to win, 2-1, and took the series in the fifth game.
3. June 3rd, 2018
86 Game Score
Michael Wacha loves facing the Pittsburgh Pirates! In this game he was basically on cruise control and the Bucs had little to no chance against him.
It wasn’t until the 5th inning that the Pirates finally managed to get a couple of runners on base, both due to walks. Wacha easily worked out of the jam and pitched into the 9th inning. He quickly got ahead of Colin Moran to start the inning, but would yield a base hit to end his no-hit bid.
Overall, Wacha recorded eight innings pitched, yielding just that one hit, and allowed two walks and struck out eight.
2. July 18th, 2017
88 Game Score
Finally a team other than the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the New York Mets were Wacha’s victims in this outing.
During what has thus far been the only complete game performance of his career, Wacha shut down the Mets during his nine innings on the mound and allowed just three hits while he walked one and picked up eight strikeouts.
1. September 24th, 2013
89 Game Score
Just a couple of weeks shy of his debut in the postseason, Wacha capped off his first season in the big leagues with what has thus far been his best performance.
This time, he faced the Washington Nationals and was dominant from the very start. Wacha easily worked his way through the Washington lineup. Unfortunately, he lost his perfect game bid in the fifth inning when a routine groundball went through the legs of the Cardinals second baseman, Matt Carpenter.
However, in the 9th inning, Wacha still had the no-hitter intact and with two outs, it was up to Ryan Zimmerman to stop history. Wacha made the right pitch, but Zimmerman slowly chopped the ball over his head and reached base for an infield single, and that was it for Wacha.
Overall, Wacha allowed just the one hit while he walked two and struck out nine over 8 2⁄3 innings pitched.