Despite the St. Louis Cardinals getting off to a 1-3 start to open the season, their starting pitching has been strong–allowing just five earned runs in 25.2 innings pitched. Michael Wacha is looking to continue the trend this afternoon as he takes the mound against Cincinnati.

In Grapefruit League play, he led the team with 22 strikeouts and his 26 innings pitched was tied for tops on the team. Despite the strong spring, he’s not looking at this first start of the season with any more anticipation than years past.

“No, not really,” said Wacha. “I think the excitement level is just as equal as any other season. I worked my tail off, not just this past off-season but the off-seasons before that. Just unfortunate with the injuries.”

Those injuries–in particular the scapular stress reaction, resulted in Wacha not just working with a new trainer this off-season, but also adjusting his routine to not throw the day after a start in Spring Training. It’s a plan he intends to keep during the regular season.

“I really like the way my arm had been feeling–taking that day off the next day,” explained Wacha. “I feel like throwing the bullpen on Day 3 instead of Day 2 after a start, I feel like my arm can handle it a little better. It’s not as sore and I can get some more work done in the bullpens. And I guess it can’t hurt, just taking a full day off of just not throwing.”

In his last seven starts against Cincinnati, Wacha is 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 42.0 innings pitched.