The St. Louis Cardinals have long needed Adam Wainwright to pitch like an ace this season, and it seems that Uncle Charlie has finally turned a corner.
What a difference a couple of weeks can make. About a month ago I wrote that St. Louis Cardinals starter, Adam Wainwright, was losing his ace status, and he was.
Back then, it was justified and most fans, I’m sure, would have agreed. But boy has Uncle Charlie turned a corner.
Since the calendar has flipped to June, Wainwright has been a different pitcher.
Here’s how his numbers look so far this month:
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At the end of May, Wainwright had a 5.71 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. After three masterful June starts, he has lowered his ERA to 4.78 and his WHIP to 1.31 on the year.
It’s safe to say, Wainwright is back. Give the guy credit, he has continued to promise fans and media that he will get back on track, and he has made good on that promise so far in June.
I’ve been fortunate to watch each of Wainwright’s last three starts this month and a couple of things are noticeably different. He is spotting his pitches much better, particularly his fastball and curveball. Wainwright hasn’t been leaving as many pitches over the plate either, which accounts for his 0.80 June WHIP.
Wainwright has continued to be stingy about walking batters as well, with only five walks so far this month. That is something he actually has progressed on since May. Wainwright registered a 1.46 BB/9 last month. If anything, this has proven that the Cardinals’ ace is controlling his pitches much better.
Uncle Charlie has also been racking up the strikeouts of late. He has 21 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched this month. That’s good for a 9.5 strikeouts per nine, by far the best it’s been this season. Wainwright registered just a 6.3 K/9 in six May starts.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals’ offense has decided to disappear during Wainwright’s June starts. The righty is 0-1 this month, and he has been much more deserving to notch wins in those games. But, hey, that’s baseball.
So, where do his June numbers rank so far? Well, Wainwright’s 0.80 WHIP this month ranks 10th in the National League ahead of Stephen Strasburg, Johnny Cueto, John Lackey, Noah Syndergaard and even teammate Carlos Martinez. Wainwright’s 1.80 ERA also ranks 10th, right behind Clayton Kershaw.
The Cardinals have their ace back. Despite his early season struggles, Wainwright has always been the leader of this starting rotation. Now, he is leading by example. If the rest of the Cardinals starters can continue to follow suit (I’m talking to you, Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha) then this team has a real shot of getting on a roll and catching the Chicago Cubs.
For now, let’s enjoy that Waino is bueno once again. The 34-year old has snatched back his ace card. Let’s hope he doesn’t lose it for the rest of this season.