Well, it's official. Adam Wainwright will not pitch again in 2023. This means that the curveball he threw to get Josh Donaldson to pop out in the start in which he won his 200th game was the final pitch he threw.
The Cardinals announced the news of Wainwright's status on Tuesday.
"He wouldn't be able to throw an inning," said manager Oli Marmol. "He really wants to, and his hope was to throw one more time at home. But after playing catch, he can't do it."
Wainwright almost didn't make his final start on September 18 due to back spasms. But after he was taped up by the training staff, he went out and delivered his best performance of the year, overcoming a bad bullpen session and pushing through the pain to earn win No. 200.
Unfortunately, it appears that that start took every last bit of strength he had in his arm. However, it does ensure that Wainwright will finish his career on a high note as opposed to running the risk of getting hurt in his final start, which would almost certainly sour his final moments wearing the Birds on the Bat.
It hasn't been a good season for the 42-year-old. He went 5-11 with an abysmal 7.40 ERA. But he put all his struggles behind him in his final two starts in order to reach the elusive 200-win mark. One final at-bat could still be in the works, but it's possible that win No. 200 was the final appearance of Wainwright's career.
He made his MLB debut back in 2005. But he always shined the most in the postseason.
When Jason Isringhausen went down with a hip injury in September of 2006, Wainwright stepped into the closer's role at the age of 25 and helped guide the Cardinals on a magical postseason run.
After closing out the Padres in the NLDS, he had a chance to do it again in Game 7 of the NLCS after Yadier Molina's go-ahead homer. The Mets loaded the bases, but Wainwright dropped a nasty curveball at Cardinal killer Carlos Beltran's knees to record the series-clinching strikeout.
Wainwright later closed out the Tigers in the World Series, helping secure St. Louis' 10th World Series title. The veteran right-hander won two World Series rings, earned three All-Star nods, two Gold Gloves, and a Silver Slugger Award. He even won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2020.
Last year, he and Molina broke and set the record for most starts together as a battery. Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan held the record at 324. But on September 14, the two Cardinals legends recorded start No. 325. In total, they made 328 starts together.
Needless to say, it's been a ride for Wainwright. Unfortunately, he won't be able to pitch again, but he deserves a ton of credit. This man gave his entire arm for the City of St. Louis, putting his heart and soul into every pitch he threw.
It may have taken every last bit of strength to reach his 200th win, but he never wavered despite the ailments in his back and his arm. One day, he'll be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame. For now, he'll be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers to ever wear the Birds on the Bat, and Cardinal Nation will miss him dearly.