Wacha joins near-miss group of 2013

BY foxsports • September 24, 2013

In 2012, MLB pitchers enjoyed historic success with a record-tying seven no-hitters. You know what they say about karma and paybacks?

With the 2013 regular season nearly complete, safe to say we can call this the Year of the Near-Miss. Just ask Michael Wacha.

In a season which had seen two no-hit bids (perfect games, actually) lost with one out to go, the Cardinals rookie made it three-for-oh! on Tuesday night in St. Louis, losing his no-no in the most heartbreaking of fashions.

With one out to go, in just his ninth career start, Wacha couldn't come down with a high chopper by Washington's Ryan Zimmerman. When the Nats third baseman beat out the wide throw by St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma, who bare-handed the ball, the no-hit bid was over.

It actually hurts to watch.

Wacha was then removed from the game to a standing ovation before reliever Trevor Rosenthal induced a groundout to seal the Cards' 2-0 victory.

"I guess I wasn't meant to throw one tonight," Wacha told The Associated Press after the game.

Sure, there have been two no-hitters in 2013 (Cincinnati's Homer Bailey on July 2 and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum on July 13). And, yes, Wacha wasn't working on a perfect game (Matt Carpenter committed an error after Wacha retired the first 14 batters, and Wacha walked two more). But still, this was a shot at history — and not just in baseball.

Before Tuesday, the most famous Wacha (OK, waka) in history belonged to Fozzie Bear.

And we're completely aware "Wacha" and "Waka" aren't spelled the same, but that's not going to stop us from thinking of this hip shaker. Plus, it might make Wacha, St. Louis fans — and you — feel a little better.

And look at this little guy, the quokka (almost a Wacha). He's native to Australia, and he sure looks happy, doesn't he? A lot happier than Wacha, you gotta figure.

But back to the near-misses.

San Francisco's Yusmeiro Petit and Texas' Yu Darvish also lost bids with one out to go this season, however, they were both tossing perfect games after 26 outs.

Petit lost his at home on Sept. 6, when Arizona pinch-hitter Eric Chavez singled to right field in the top of the ninth.

Darvish's near-miss occurred in the Rangers' second game of the season, on April 2 in Houston. With an out to go, the Astros' Marwin Gonzalez hit a single up the middle, which went through Darvish's legs, to crash the party.

Back to Wacha's gem and the final out, it was a little reminiscent of the missed call by umpire Jim Joyce when Detroit's Armando Galarraga lost his bid for a perfect game on July 2, 2010. As bad as Galarraga felt, Joyce felt even worse, shedding some tears in a postgame interview.

"I just cost the kid a perfect game," the veteran umpire said.

It turns out the 22-year-old Wacha, who pitched at the same college — Texas A&M — where Johnny Football plays, wasn't bummed out. After all, the Cardinals are closing in on the NL Central title, their magic number at three with four games left.

And just because we want to put a smile on your face one more time, enjoy this:

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