Adam Wainwright earns win No. 20 at Wrigley


Adam Wainwright just missed the 20-win mark in 2009. He went home with an award to commemorate his excellence in the field. The trophy was for his work with his glove, not his arm. The St. Louis ace won 19 games and finished third in the Cy Young vote.

He was good, just not good enough. It served as a motivating factor to do even more in 2010. The goal started with the magical number for pitchers: 20. He wanted that last win.

Wainwright got his big win against the Cubs at Wrigley Field Friday in a 7-1 Cardinals victory. Wainwright threw six sharp innings, scattering six hits, allowing one run, and striking out seven. The lone run came on a solo shot by Aramis Ramirez in the second inning. After that, Wainwright settled in for an efficient day on the mound.

He became the first Cardinals pitcher to win 20 games since teammate Chris Carpenter did in his Cy Young season in 2005. Carpenter went 21-5 that year.

He joined Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia as the third 20-game winner in baseball. Wainwright also tied Halladay for the league-lead in strikeouts with 213 and shaved his ERA to 2.42, good for second in the league behind Josh Johnson. He has a legitimate shot at the pitcher’s Triple Crown, which was last accomplished by Jake Peavy in 2007. His record is now 20-11.

He is also in a close battle for the Cy Young award with Halladay who is 20-10 with a 2.53 ERA. Halladay has thrown eight complete games including a perfect game compared to Wainwright’s five. The Phillies ace is also part of a playoff team, which always makes a difference in regular season awards.

Allen Craig made it easy on Wainwright with a three-run home run in the first inning. Tom Gorzelanny lasted just 3 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs.

It is Chicago’s final home series of the season. The Cards can find some joy in helping put the ivy away for the winter.

Despite the Cards disappointing season, Adam Wainwright would find some satisfaction in taking home the Cy Young for himself this year.

Garcia done for good this time. The Cardinals announced earlier in the day that Jaime Garcia will not return as a precaution after a big jump in his workload this season. Dave Duncan gave a realistic view behind the move.

"“I think if we were in a position where we had a legitimate chance to win the division, he could pitch,” Duncan said. “But I think the organization — and rightly so — is concerned about the number of innings he’s pitched after not pitching very much last year. Under the circumstances, you really stay on the safe side.”"

The lefty saw a drop in his velocity and struggled in his late season starts as a result of arm fatigue. The team is turning its attention to the future and Garcia is a key component of success in that future. He took the league by storm this summer and remains a frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award. He finishes the year with a 13-8 record and 2.70 ERA, fifth in the National League.