All signs point to Adam Wainwright starting Opening Day for the St. Louis Cardinals, a nod he earned after a dominant 2021 season.
Entering spring training, it was between Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright to be the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day starter. But with Flaherty hurt, and his timetable to return still unclear, all signs point to Wainwright earning the nod.
All Wainwright has to do is stay on his current schedule, which would allow him to make two more spring starts, and then be on normal rest for Opening Day, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said.
It would be a deserving honor for Wainwright, 40, as he is coming off perhaps the most impressive season of his career. He posted a 3.05 ERA and 174/50 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 206.1 innings and single handedly carried a Cardinals rotation that was decimated by injuries last season as the group lost Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson and others throughout the season.
Wainwright believes he can be even better. He told Goold that he is “going to throw some new wrinkles at people, some stuff that is not traditionally what I’ve done. Numbers tell me I need to do it. I’m not just going out on a whim.”
This is something we will see the Cardinals do more, as new manager Oli Marmol implements more numbers and analytics into the team’s decision-making process. It’s what the front office has wanted and why they parted with Mike Shildt earlier this winter. The fact that Wainwright is so adamant about doing it, and already beginning to implement it, shows that the team is buying into what Marmol is selling.
Which is another reason they hired him: the familiarity Marmol has with the players having been Shildt’s bench coach.
The organization is confident Marmol’s ways can help maximize the team’s potential – and if it can help Wainwright be even better, it’s fair to wonder what’s possible for the rest of the roster.