Adam Wainwright won 19 games last year and finished at the top of voting for the Cy Young. It was a special year for the young pitcher. He finally came into his own and at the same time joined the elite hurlers of the generation.
The best young arms have only improved and grown in numbers since then. The stellar pitching on the mound that has resulted in pristine ERAs, plenty of strikeouts, fewer home runs, and a couple of no hitters, is making 2010 one for the history books. In the revamped version of the Year of the Pitcher, Wainwright has stepped up his game.
Bob Gibson was the face of the 1968 season that first inspired the phrase and resulted in changes to the rule book.
Adam Wainwright is making his bid to keep the title in St. Louis. He is 14-5 with a 2.02 ERA after another scoreless performance on the hill. He went six innings to lead the Cards to a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The win also pushed Wainwright’s home record to 10-0. His ERA at Busch Stadium is a mind-boggling 1.31. That puts him in company with Hal Newhouser, Smoky Joe Wood and some others for their home starts in a season.
And Wainwright hasn’t given up on the changeup he learned at the All-Star Game. He’s just working on it more before breaking it out in a game. And just to make sure he’s got the grip right, he made some calls to San Fran to get more information.
“I hope he (Lincecum) doesn’t get in trouble,” Wainwright said. “I first started throwing it in the bullpen at the All-Star game and it was really nice. I tinkered it with it here a little bit. I took it out there yesterday and the grip was not quite right. I sent a text message to (former Cardinal) Todd Wellemeyer (now on the Giants) and asked him to take a photo of it and send it to me and he did.
“I took it out there today and probably threw 8 to 10 of them. I had some really good ones and some really crappy ones. It’s a work in progress but it’s certainly a good pitch. I’ve just got to keep working on it.”
Not sure how I feel about players being so open to sharing their secrets to success especially after Lincecum already showed him his grip in person, but you have to love Wainwright’s desire to get better.
It is rumored that he tried to get some tips from Roy Halladay before he apporached Lincecum. Halladay wasn’t so generous.
Bob Gibson would certainly relate to Halladay’s stance. He probably wouldn’t have shared his secrets with his teammates. But times have changed and players are more friendly with each other.
This year, though, it feels like the old days. It’s 1968 again and pitching is king. Who will get to wear the crown as the face of the historical season?
It’s hard to tell now, but Adam Wainwright is making his case.