Jack Flaherty will be the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day starter. That has been clear the entire offseason. But what hasn’t been clear is how the rest of the rotation will shape out, specifically who will be lined up to start the home opener at Busch Stadium.
While nothing is official, all signs point to Adam Wainwright taking the mound on April 8 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium, manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Shildt has not discussed the possibility with Wainwright, hence his hesitation in making it official, along with the off chance that he injures himself between now and then. But for Wainwright, who re-signed with the Cardinals this offseason on a one-year deal, it is something that he will take great pride in with there being a real chance this is the last time the 39-year-old starts the home opener.
In a rotation that has mostly struggled this spring, along with dealing with a number of injuries, Wainwright has provided a steady presence. That is nothing out of the ordinary. He has looked crisp and in midseason form in each outing and appears to have left off from where he ended last season, putting up a 3.15 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched.
The Cardinals would love for Wainwright to repeat those numbers, though it might be tough to sustain over a 162-game season. Besides, the team will likely be careful with him this season with there being an increased fear of pitcher injuries as they ramp up from a 60-game season. If they can limit his innings to start the year, and continually bring him up as the season goes on, he can be fresh for what the team hopes is a deep postseason run.
While it would put more pressure on a bullpen that lacks ideal depth, it would help the team in the long run. For now, Wainwright will most likely start the home opener and if this is indeed his last season, it would be a storybook way to start the end of his career.