As the St. Louis Cardinals begin their series in Pittsburgh, Adam Wainwright’s performance is very important for the outlook of the starting rotation.
In many ways, the St. Louis Cardinals did not get off to the start that they wanted to during the first series of the season in Milwaukee. Finishing the series with a heartbreaking walk-off on Sunday, the Cardinals were only able to take one game of four from the reigning NL Central Champs and now sit at 1-3 on the year.
Nevermind a feast or famine offense that seemingly can only strikeout or hit a homer, the worrisome thing to me was the lack of production from the starting rotation.
The only start over the weekend that was encouraging was Michael Wacha‘s on Sunday where he gave up just one run (the obligatory homer to Christian Yelich) over six innings while striking out seven. Otherwise, the average numbers for the first three starts from Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, and Dakota Hudson were as follows: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 3 HR, 7.84 ERA. Ouch.
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These numbers were put up by your top three arms that are supposed to provide strength for you this year. It was the first start of the year and was against a great team, but you are supposed to be beating that team! There are no excuses after the small margin that the Cardinals have missed the playoffs by the last three years. This is why today is so important for Adam Wainwright.
He is your number five man in the rotation, and if he can’t beat the averages above, then we may have struck worry-worthy gold in the form of our starting pitchers. Adam Wainwright put up the great numbers during Spring, but so did Flaherty, so did Hudson. This is when it counts. We have plenty of time in the season but after a walk-off loss and a four-game series that was pretty taxing on the bullpen, the Cardinals need Adam Wainwright to perform today in Pittsburgh.
Wainwright is more or less entering the last season of his career. His the Cardinals’ leader in the pitching staff, even if not in a talent way. Leaders need to step up sometimes and put the team on their back to right the ship. In a season where every game counts more than ever, the Cardinals need to get back on track against the cellar-dwelling Pirates.