St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright set another career milestone on Thursday, striking out 2,000 career batters.
When writing about St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright this season, it’s mostly been one of two things: 1) how dominant he has been and 2) him setting another milestone.
On Thursday, Wainwright was not at his best. He threw only four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing five runs (four coming on a first inning grand slam) with one strikeout … with that strikeout marking the 2,000th of his career.
The strikeout came against Brewers infielder Luis Urias on a 2-2 count. He fouled off three pitches, but on a curveball down and away, he struck out swinging. Players and coaches from both dugouts clapped at American Family Field, a classy gesture that underscores just how dominant and respected the 40-year-old Wainwright is across baseball.
“That’s a lot of punchouts. It’s an impressive number,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “It speaks to a lot of things. Obviously, duration. You gotta have a strikeout pitch or pitches, and he’s got them. He’s got the signature curveball, but he’s got other weapons as well. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, and hats off to Adam for another tremendous milestone he’s reached in his career.”
Wainwright, of course, was not at his best Thursday. That much is clear. But his dominance this season has put him in position to earn top-5 Cy Young Award votes. He is 16-7 and has a 3.05 ERA in 200.1 innings, a number that ranks second in the National League, with his career 3.35 ERA and long list of career achievements making it likely that he makes the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.
That career started – and will finish – with the Cardinals. He intends to play at least one more season and Yadier Molina signing a one-year contract extension ensured that Wainwright would return to St. Louis next season. A deal is not done, however, and there are no signs talks have started. But both sides have indicated mutual interest and it’s unthinkable they will not come to an agreement, even if a deal is for $12-15 million over one season.
It will allow Wainwright to go out with Molina, his longtime battery mate, and continue to chase the most starts between a pitcher and catcher. In the meantime, however, he continues to set individual records and milestones. Thursday was just another example of that.