Mets: Like Carlos Beltran, Michael Wacha has been a postseason hero and goat

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 11: Pitcher Michael Wacha #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after walking Ryan Hanigan #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays to load the bases during the fourth inning of a game on June 11, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 11: Pitcher Michael Wacha #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after walking Ryan Hanigan #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays to load the bases during the fourth inning of a game on June 11, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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Michael Wacha and Carlos Beltran were both on the wrong end of two bad moments in postseason history after shining prior. They will look to have another moment of playoff glory with the New York Mets in 2020.

Michael Wacha has more in common with New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran than the uniform each will wear in 2020. Already ex-teammates from the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals, the two have another connection in baseball history.

There are some notable moments in baseball history that turned a player into a postseason goat. Fred Merkle, Mickey Owen, and Bill Buckner all come to mind. In the more modern baseball world, Beltran and Wacha have those playoff moments.

However, both Beltran and Wacha have experienced what it’s like to also shine in October. Beltran carried the Houston Astros through the 2004 postseason, ultimately losing to the Cardinals in seven games of the 2004 NLCS. He had some other incredibly productive series, finishing up his career as a .307/.412/.609 hitter in the playoffs.

The one moment many Mets fans remember him for most occurred on the last pitch of the 2006 NLCS. A nasty pitch from Adam Wainwright had Beltran fooled, ending the series with a called strike three.

For the second time in three seasons, Beltran exited the playoffs in the NLCS after a solid individual performance. This time, he was the man who received a big brunt of the blame.

Beltran did eventually win the World Series with the 2017 Astros. Unfortunately for Wacha, he has yet to find his redemption.

Wacha’s playoff career started out well. In his 2013 rookie season, he handled the Pittsburgh Pirates in his one start of the NLDS. Against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, he tossed 13.2 shutout innings and won both of his starts. The performance earned him the series MVP.

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The magic wore out for Wacha in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. While he did manage to earn a victory in one of his starts, Wacha got shelled in the Game Six. In his 3.2 innings of work, he allowed six earned runs to cross the plate. With the victory, the Red Sox became World Series Champions.

Hoping for a better performance the following year, Wacha didn’t pitch in the 2014 NLDS but did toss a third of an inning in the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.

Rather than start the game, Cardinals fans saw him enter the Game Five in the bottom of the ninth.

Likely a bit rusty, Wacha served up a single, recorded an out on a fly ball, and then issued a walk. The most memorable pitch he threw was to Travis Ishikawa. Giants fans know that name for one reason only: he sent everyone home and put San Francisco back in the World Series yet again. The home run became a highly-viewed MLB highlight for several years.

Wacha’s most recent playoff appearance didn’t go well either. Before the Chicago Cubs got swept by the Mets in the 2015 NLCS, they beat up Wacha and the Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS.

It has been a long time since Wacha has played in the playoffs. He’s far removed from those terrible moments and even further away from his postseason MVP Award.

Like Beltran, he’ll look for some better moments in the future while participating in postseason action. First, the Mets need to get there.

Next. Mets history if David Wright stayed healthy

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The career of a ballplayer can be a long one and take him to many different cities where he calls home. In 2020, Wacha will be a member of the Mets where he’ll have a chance to forget about some of those past mistakes and hopefully give fans in New York something to cheer about—maybe even in October.

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