Back on April 6th of this year I wrote what was easily my most popular piece. Simply titled “An Open Letter to Adam Wainwright” I wrote about how sad I felt reading many forms of social media regarding Adam Wainwright and his fate with the Cardinals organization which you can read below.
Yet once again on September 10th, after Wainwright took the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tweets and Facebook posts began to flood in. Most of what I saw can be summed up simply. “He’s done” they say. Wainwright did struggle a little while he was on the mound, but at no point did I think the game was over. A 3-run 3rd inning gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead, and all over social media it seemed as all hope was lost for Wainwright.
And what a shame that is.
What more could he have done? Who would you put in his place? Wainwright has battled back as much as he could because of what he wants to do for this ballclub. Currently, the team has many options for spot starters moving forward, but just like them, Waino had to prove he was ready to go.
Waino did his rehab assignments. And he pitched incredibly well. He threw 22 innings total and allowed just 14 hits and 4 walks while striking out 25 batters. Also, he didn’t allow a run. Reports say that he stuff seemed more refined, and his curveball looked better than it had in years.
He worked hard to get back, yet after a couple tough innings… Fans want him kicked to the curb.
Now, I will say some fans aren’t too cruel with their treatment of Wainwright, opting for a bullpen role for the former Ace. But that doesn’t guarantee success moving forward.
Others would rather him hang up his cleats and never play the game again.
I don’t believe Wainwright is done. Personally I believe he deserves another start. The idea that you can judge his ability to keep going because of one Major League start and rehab assignments is folly. One more start gives you a better idea of what Waino can bring.
There were a number of positives from this past start. There are plenty of numbers that should give a glimpse at his potential moving forward.
1. He threw strikes. He threw 56 of 81 pitches for strikes (69.1%). In his previous outings this season, Wainwright only threw strikes 57.1% of the time, so last night was a significant improvement.
2. He didn’t walk anyone. Going back his ability to throw strikes was the fact he didn’t walk anyone. He had walked at least 4 batters in 3 of his last 4 starts for the Cardinals. During his rehab stint he only had 4 walks through 22 innings which is significantly better than the 14 walks through 18 innings for the Cardinals earlier this season. If he can keep his walk total down, he should fare better moving forward.
3. His playoff experience could give him an edge over inexperienced rookies. If you take Wainwright out if the rotation, you risk sending in a rookie starter who doesn’t have near the experience Wainwright has in these types of situations. Rookie pitchers have fared very well for the Cardinals, but you could be asking too much down the stretch from some of the young guys. Wainwright has the poise and experience to lead the Cardinals in a playoff race.
I understand Wainwright isn’t the same pitcher he was in 2012, or even in 2015. But we need to express our gratitude to a man who is giving Cardinal Nation everything he has left. He still has something left in the tank and as I’ve said before… he deserves this last shot. He deserves to go out his way. The Cardinals clubhouse has rallied behind Uncle Charlie and it’s time we did the same.
Let’s rally behind him Cardinal Nation.
Thanks for reading.