Sep 30, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcherAdam Wainwright
(50) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
No way, the ace of the staff is back and is ready to be a lethal weapon in the bullpen? This is my thought process right now on “Waino”. Wainwright in three appearances has pitched three innings and given up just two hits, one walk, and one run-with the one run and two hits coming in his first outing. Wainwright has looked good and it appears that the Cardinals now have a new weapon out of the bullpen. Wainwright has been the ace of this staff since the injury to Chris Carpenter in 2012 and has proven that his five month comeback from a ruptured achilles tendon is not just a nice gesture from the team.
One of the things that has been nice to see from Adam, is the improved velocity. According to Fangraphs, Wainwright has been sitting in the 93-95 MPH range with his fastball, 75-77 MPH with his curveball, 87-90 MPH with his cutter, and 91-94 MPH with his sinker. These are great numbers and it shows that Wainwright is ramping it up from his normal range, which in turn makes a stud starting pitcher into a very valuable weapon out of the bullpen, especially given that Wainwright could potentially toss two maybe three innings out of the pen if needed in the postseason. Like I stated with Siegrist, this makes any part of the ‘pen very lethal.
With Rosenthal, Siegrist, Seth Maness, and Wanwright all looking good, the Cardinals should have a dominant bullpen heading into the playoffs.
There were a number of players that I could have gone with these five spots, in fact I didn’t even mention the X-Factor that Nathaniel Reeves mentioned in his post, Stephen Piscotty. Piscotty could have a big impact for this team during the postseason, I just view these players above him right now.
Look for these five players to be how the Cardinals live and die throughout the postseason. If these five players are successful, this could be a fun postseason for Cardinals’ fans.