The Cardinals legend has been come up big all season, but his struggles in September may have lost Wainwright his spot in the Wild Card rotation.
Adam Wainwright has been more than the St. Louis Cardinals could ask for in 2022. At 41 years old, Wainwright has thrown 187 innings with an 11-11 record and a 3.51 ERA. For most of the season, the right-hander has been the go to guy in the Cardinal rotation, but recent struggles now put his reliability into question.
In his last 7 starts, Wainwright is 2-3 with a 5.15 ERA and just 36.2 innings of work. His WHIP has risen all the way up to 1.75, and Wainwright just cannot get outs like he was earlier in the season. He has been statistically the Cardinals worst starter during that stretch, and that has to make the club consider whether or not he should be a starter in their first three game series of the playoffs.
The two locks for the rotation right now appear to be Miles Mikolas and Jose Quintana, who sport 3.21 and 1.58 ERAs in their last 7 starts for St. Louis. Mikolas was in his own funk for the month of August, but has regained his first half form as of late and looks ready to start Game 1 or Game 2 alongside Quintana.
Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty will fight with Wainwright for that Game 3 start if needed. The pair have not been much better than Wainwright as of late, with 4.17 and 4.71 ERAs in that same stretch, but both have shown the ability to strike out hitters at a higher rate, which is important in the postseason and could be the tiebreaker for manager Oli Marmol if the decision is close.
To Wainwright’s defense, he recently cited that his knee inflammation from being hit by a comebacker in his start against Atlanta has thrown off his mechanics, and he is working to get back to where he was at before. For a few weeks, people have wondered if he has a dead arm, but it appears like the knee was the real issue.
If Wainwright can get things figured out and perform well in his final start of the regular season, he may earn that Game 3 start. If not, it will be a very difficult decision for Marmol and his staff come October.