"I guess it just wasn't to be," Wacha said.
And he's been just as dominant in the postseason, beating Pittsburgh in Game 4 of the division series and Los Angeles in Games 2 and 6 of the league championship series. He's allowed one run in 21 innings, striking out 22, walking four and holding batters to a .114 average.
"The first impression that he made was he don't get scared," Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. "When you see a pitcher throwing strikes, 95, 96, with a good changeup and doesn't get scared, that's a good sign."
Wacha is on the right team to learn, with former NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter and staff ace Adam Wainwright as tutors.
"His maturity level for his age stands out a lot," Carpenter said, "You get here because you have good stuff and you can pitch. You learn through experience on how to behave, how to act off the field, how to act on the field, how to act in the clubhouse."
Wacha tried to be calm about the World Series. His parents planned to travel to Boston on Tuesday morning — first, they drove Tuesday night to watch daughter Brette play volleyball for Pleasant Grove. They planned to make a 3-hour drive after the match to Dallas, where they would catch a morning flight up north.
No matter which team wins, Texarkana will have a champion.
"It's a huge buzz," Wacha said. "They're pretty happy that at least a ring will be coming back there."