Cardinals: How Adam Wainwright’s “dead arm” impacts St. Louis
St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright admitted Tuesday that he has “dead arm.” How does it impact them moving forward?
For most of the second half of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals have been a dominant force. They have opened up a significant lead in the National League Central and are the heavy favorite to win the division. But it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows.
The offense, at least lately, has gone stagnant. And after Tuesday’s game against the San Diego Padres, in which they lost 5-0, ace Adam Wainwright admitted that he’s experiencing “dead arm.” He told reporters, including Katie Woo of The Athletic, that he’s continuing to work through it and said multiple times that he felt he’s improving.
It’s unclear just how long this “dead arm” period is lasting, but it’s possible that it’s been going on for roughly a month. Just take a look at his numbers from his last six starts: 32.2 innings, 37 hits, 17 runs, 15 strikeouts, 4.68 ERA.
So how does this impact the Cardinals?
The good news is that the Cardinals’ rotation is further built to withstand struggles and/or injuries now that they have Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana. The bad news is that the Cardinals still need Wainwright to be the guy, especially in the biggest moments in the postseason. And if he’s still struggling come October, that should make the team nervous.
With an 8.5-game lead in the NL Central, the Cardinals can be flexible. If they want to place Wainwright on the IL for 15 days so he can rest his arm, they have that option. They also have the rotation pieces in place where they can still get the job done and maintain that lead. Whether Wainwright, who’s one of baseball’s biggest competitors, would allow that remains to be seen.
But it’s a conversation that both Wainwright and Cardinals coaches may need to have, especially with the postseason just around the corner. The good news, however, is that he is improving and besides, it’s not like his outing against the Padres was bad. He allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
Is there reason to be concerned? Of course. Any time a pitcher is experiencing dead arm is a reason to be concerned, especially when he’s 41 years old. But Wainwright says he’s improving and I’m inclined to believe him. Concern meter: 3/10.