Adam Wainwright Returning to Proper Form

By Craig Phelps

St. Louis, Mo – Never fear, my cheerers of the valiant St. Louis Cardinals, for the Red Bird’s knight in shining armor is returning to his proper throne at the head of the round table.  Adam Wainwright is once again becoming the Adam Wainwright that fans of the Birds on the Bat have known and loved.

Despite being the victim of a 7-5 defeat to the San Francisco Giants early on Thursday afternoon, the Georgia native has looked exceptional in his last two starts despite having acquired five losses and just two wins on the season.

Wainwright has been challenging the opposition since his first true Major League season in 2006; he made 2 appearances in 2005.  Now, a year removed from that once horrid surgery named after Mr. Tommy John, Wainwright has been struggling to find his control.

Cardinal’s fans were elated with joy after the grand performance put on by the esteemed Cardinal’s pitcher during spring training.  Mr. Wainwright went 2-0 in five appearances with a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 innings.  He struck out nine batters while walking just six and earning an impeccably low three earned runs.

Fast forward to Thursday’s match-up against the San Francisco Giants and the frustration among the Cardinal faithful is becoming increasingly evident.  The 2-5 record in eight games by Waino is becoming the primary concern among an increasing majority of worry stone rubbers.

After having never allowed more than 17 home runs to exit the park under his command and averaging just 14.25 homeruns in his career as a starter, Wainwright has already allowed seven homeruns this season.  With the exception of the 2008 season, in which the right hander faced a finger injury that removed two and a half months of his season, Wainwright averaged 33 games a year as a starter from 2007 to 2010.  With this taken into account, Adam Wainwright, who is allowing a homerun every .875 games, is on pace to allow 19.25 more homeruns this season; this would put his season total at 26.25 long bombs.

As these absurd numbers prove testament to, Wainwright has been struggling at the start of the 2012 season.  However, once one dwells a little deeper into the game log of the 30 year old former first round pick by the Atlanta Braves his rejuvenation begins to become clear.

Wainwright has not allowed a homerun in three straight games and the same statement holds truth when expanded to four of the last five.  Fans that dawn the Cardinal red should also consider the fact that Wainwright, whom had allowed a total of 15 earned runs in his first three games of the season, has earned three runs or less in three out of his last five games as well.  In fact, out of his eight games of the young season, Wainwright has earned five or more runs just twice; eight earned runs in a 5-9 loss to Chicago on April 13th and five earned runs in a 2-7 loss to Atlanta on May 12th.

Dive yet a tad deeper into the control issues of Adam Wainwright and the idea that these issues are increasingly becoming nonexistent is reinforced.  He has the second highest strike out per nine inning ratio among starters on the team at 8.2.  He is getting consistently closer to the strike zone and hitters are beginning to take the bait.

Take into account Wainwright’s outing against the Atlanta Braves on May 12th.  While, on the surface, it appears to be an atrocious outing in which he let up five runs, all earned, in just 4.1 innings while throwing 108 pitches, many of these barely missed the strike zone.  Wainwright was painting the lower corners of the plate to near perfection.  The issue on the aforementioned date was that it wasn’t to traditional Waino perfection; a bristle was off on the paint brush.

Adam Wainwright is returning to his true form and, when he does, the opposition better be prepared to face a true knight of the round table.

Quick Hitters

Craig and McClellan on DL – The Cardinal’s disabled list appears to be the new hangout spot for Cardinals sluggers and pitchers alike.  Allen Craig (left hamstring strain) and Kyle McClellan (right elbow strain) have both been added to the 15-day DL and will be replaced by Brandon Dickson and Adron Chambers.  Dickson has a 3.24 ERA and is 2-3 in 8 starts in AAA-Memphis this year.  Chambers, who only had eight at-bats in the big leagues last year but hit .375 with four RBI’s and a triple, is hitting .308 with 12 RBI’s, six doubles, a triple, and a homerun in 37 games this season in Memphis.

Carlos Beltran Slow to Return – Beltran’s aging knees have kept him from appearing in the starting line-up for the Cardinals over the previous four games.  A positive sign for the 35 year old outfielder is that he has been available to make a pinch hit appearance in three out of these four games; he is 0 for 2 in these situations with a walk.  With five men already on the disabled-list, two of them (pitchers Chris Carpenter and Scott Linebrink) having yet to make an appearance this season, it is a wonder how much longer the Cardinals will be able to play a man short; if Beltran was able to pinch hit he would most certainly have been placed on the 15-day DL.

Bat’s Returning in Not-So-Dramatic Fashion –  After being outscored by a combined eleven runs in the previous two series against the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs, the Cardinals managed to make a semi-return to their offensive-heavy performance in a two game series against the San Francisco Giants.  St. Louis outscored their western foe by two runs (10-8) in the two game series.  They have outscored opponents by a total of 65 runs in 38 games this season, or 1.71 runs per game on average.

“The Cardinal Way” – Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a fantastic article (available here) today offering details and insight of the new instruction manual, history book, and all around go-to-guide given to Cardinals managers, coaches, and players this season.  It is simply a must-read article.

Cardinals take on the Dodgers – The St. Louis Cardinals continue their west-bound trip with a three day adventure in Los Angeles as they take on the Dodgers.  Lance Lynn (6-1, 1.81 ERA), Jake Westbrook (4-2, 2.35), and Kyle Lohse (5-1, 2.70) of St. Louis will take on Ted Lilly (5-0, 2.11), Clayton Kershaw (3-1, 2.22), and Chad Billingsley (2-3, 3.83 ERA) of L.A. respectively.  Tonight’s first pitch is set to occur at 9:10pm CST.  It can be found locally on Fox Sports Midwest and 1120 KMOX.

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