Wacha joins elite group that includes Lynn, three HOF pitchers

Michael Wacha is the seventh Cardinals pitcher to record 250-plus strikeouts in his first 50 starts.

Mark J. Terrill/AP

In the history of the St. Louis Cardinals entering this season, six pitchers had recorded 250 or more strikeouts in their first 50 career starts.

Michael Wacha makes seven.

Entering his start Monday night against the Giants, Wacha has 259 career strikeouts in 50 starts. (He has another 19 in six relief appearances.) That makes him part of an exclusive club that is headed by his rotation partner, Lance Lynn, and includes three Hall of Famers: Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton and Dizzy Dean.

CARDINALS WITH 250-PLUS STRIKEOUTS IN FIRST 50 CAREER STARTS (SINCE 1914)

Pitcher Strikeouts Years
Lance Lynn 297 2011-13
Alan Benes 261 1995-97
Michael Wacha 259 2013-15
Dizzy Dean 257 1930-33
Steve Carlton 256 1965-68
Bob Gibson 256 1959-62
Ernie Broglio 254 1959-61

The Cardinals face a San Francisco team that had a .500 record through July 6 but since has played at a .667 clip (22-11) to get back into postseason contention. The Giants are led by catcher Buster Posey, who is hitting nearly .400 in his last 40 games and has been one of the best offensive players in the National League over that span.

Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk also has been blistering the ball, although he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a right elbow strain. Grichuk leads all major league rookies with 43 extra-base hits this season. When he returns, he will be looking to become the seventh Cardinals rookie to lead all major league rookies in extra-base hits for a season.

BUSTER POSEY’S STATS SINCE JUNE 25*

Statistic Number NL Rank
Batting average .392 1st
Batting average with RISP .447 2nd
On-base percentage .419 5th
Slugging percentage .556 5th
On-base plus slugging percentage .975 5th
RBIs 33 T-3rd
* Minimum 150 plate appearances for rate stats, 30 plate appearances for BA with RISP    

CARDINALS ROOKIES TO LEAD ALL MLB ROOKIES IN EXTRA-BASE HITS

Player Year Extra-base hits
Randal Grichuk 2015 43 (to date)
Albert Pujols 2001 88
Wally Moon 1954 50 (tied)
Stan Musial 1942 52
Rogers Hornsby 1916 38
Tom Long 1915 48
Joe Delahanty 1908 26 (tied)

NL TEAMS WITH A WINNING RECORD VS. TEAMS AT .500 OR BETTER IN 2015

Team Record (win percentage)
St. Louis Cardinals 31-19 (.620)
Chicago Cubs 27-18 (.600)
Pittsburgh Pirates 26-18 (.591)
San Francisco Giants 18-17 (.514)