The good news is that Adam Wainwright was back on the mound in a meaningful game for the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday. Unfortunately, the results were not exactly as he hoped. The Cardinals were shut down by Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke in a 6-0 loss at Miller Field.
Wainwright was making his first start since September 2010. He lasted 5.2 innings giving up three earned runs on four hits and a walk. He allowed a homer to Corey Hart in the second inning and then retired 12 of 13 batters through the fifth inning. He came out for the sixth and gave up one last run on an Aramis Ramirez double off the wall.
Wainwright was able to throw 88 pitches, 56 for strikes. He had thrown 75 in his last session. He could reach 95 pitches in his next start and hopefully 100 or better in the one that follows. By the time his fourth start comes around, assuming he feels good, he should be able to stay out on the mound without a strict pitch count.
After pounding out 29 hits in the first two games of the season,16 on Friday, the Cardinals could only manage six total and four off of Greinke. The Brewers’ starter went seven innings and struck out seven while walking none. Greinke threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes in a fine display of control.
Hart ended up hitting another home run off Cards reliever Victor Marte who was just promoted to fill the roster spot of Scott Linebrink. He ended the game with 3 RBI. Rickie Weeks added a home run and scored twice. Ryan Braun had 2 hits and a run.
Lance Lynn takes the mound today in the rubber game of the three-game series. Lynn is filling in for Chris Carpenter, who is on the disabled list with nerve irritation of the right shoulder. Lynn will hope to hold down the fort until Carpenter can return. Lynn had a fine spring and will try to provide the Cardinals with a strong effort.
He was predominately a starter in the minors but used mostly as a reliever last season. Lynn was transferred to the rotation as soon as it became evident there was an issue with Carpenter. Using Lynn allowed the Cardinals to stay out of the free-agent market (namely Roy Oswalt) at least for the time being.
Tyler Greene will be making his first start of the season at second base with left-hander Randy Wolf starting for the Brewers. Wolf is 8-8 lifetime against the Cardinals. Carlos Beltran is a .297 hitter with three homers and four doubles against Wolf.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, we shouldn’t be using wins and losses to measure Adam Wainwright’s starts this April. It begins with building stamina and regaining control which lasts the duration of a game. It continues with using the control to dictate the game. Then the Cardinals can use wins and losses to determine Wainwright’s performance.
So yesterday was a positive step. He increased his workload from 75 to 88 pitches. He had a stretch where he looked very much under control. He made one mistake early to a very good hitter. He began to falter only when he started to wear down.
Once Wainwright can get himself strong enough to get into the 100-110 pitch mark it means his control has also gotten that much better. Time will make Wainwright stronger and will allow him to maintain control over longer periods. In time we’ll be measuring Wainwright’s performance by wins and losses on the field, not based on where he is in his recovery.