Waino's CG SO in front of 2006 World Series alumni - 07/16/2016
2009-2014 was arguably Wainwright's peak. He finished in the top three in Cy Young voting four times, an all-star three times, and accumulated some nasty stats including a 92-50 record, a 2.83 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a 3.89 SO/W ratio. He was not only the ace of some very good St. Louis Cardinal teams, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. So when 2015 came around and Wainwright was dominant once more to start the campaign, it was such a devastating blow when his Achilles ruptured in Milwaukee in late April ending his season with only 4 starts to his name for the year. The future was unknown for the soon-to-be 34-year-old and he knew that he had some work to do to get back to where he was.
That's where 2016 found Waino trying to find that form again early in the year. He was still effective, sure, just not the dominant ace the league was used to seeing. Through April 2016, he accumulated a 7.16 ERA and didn't earn his first win of the season until April 27th. May and June came and went and he saw better numbers with a 4.62 and a 3.69 ERA respectively, still, not the numbers he or others were used to. He had not made it past the 7th inning in any start to this point and only 2 out of the 16 starts had he allowed no runs. Something the uber-competitive Wainwright was known for being stingy about.
So after flirting with dominance the first two starts of July allowing only 1 earned run and striking out 14, on July 16th Waino found that form and reminded us he was still the ace of the staff. The first start out of the all-star break and a weekend celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the 2006 Championship team with friends and alumni in attendance, who else would St. Louis hand the ball to other than the same pitcher that closed out that same World Series 10 years ago?
Navigating 120 pitches against a pretty good Marlins Line-up that included Giancarlo Stanton, Ichiro, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich, Adam Wainwright with the distance. Through 9 full innings, his final line read 9.0 IP, 0 R, 5 K, 3 H, 2 BB. Sure it wasn't the most dominant Waino has ever been as this was his 10th CG up to this point in his career, but it was a moment. At his home ballpark, in front of former teammates, coaches, and staff, after coming back from a serious injury, and throwing Molina, Waino shoved. Turning back that clock and finding that form again on that hot St. Louis night Adam announced he was back.