Just a day after Washington Nationals‘ ace Stephen Strasburg put together a five-inning gem, St. Louis Cardinals‘ ace Adam Wainwright put together an eight-inning gem against Mr. Strasburg’s team. After the dominant performance that Wainwright treated us to, it’s clear he’s already in mid-season form.
On Friday afternoon, Wainwright went eight full innings, giving up just three hits while striking out seven. He’s lowered his ERA for Spring Training to 2.04 and his opponents batting average to .194. This spring, he’s given up just 13 hits and has struck out seven batters. His latest piece of work on Friday was by far the best of his four appearances.
Wainwright was efficient in his work. He averaged between 10-15 pitches per inning with ease and plowed through a solid Nationals’ lineup, even for Spring Training. Washington sent the likes of Danny Espinosa, Scott Hairston, Tyler Moore and Jose Lobaton to the plate and all of them came up empty. Wainwright had no troubles sending them back to the dugout.
In 2013, Wainwright pitched his third season in the past five years with a sub-3.00 ERA (dating back to pre-Tommy John surgery years). He struck out 219 batters and finished with a 6.26 walks-to-strikeout ratio, second-best in MLB. For the second time in his career, he was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner. For the third time, he finished in the top-3 in NL Cy Young voting.
Two years removed Tommy John surgery and 32 years old, it’s remarkable that Wainwright has kept up this level play. It’s not often that you see pitchers stay dominant into their 30s, regardless of if they’ve had the elbow procedure done. The fact that Wainwright is still retiring batters with ease is a bad sign for anybody not wearing a Cardinals uniform.
Wainwright is in for another good season in St. Louis. Twice has he been a bridesmaid in the NL Cy Young voting, but this year could very well be his year. While Clayton Kershaw, Jordan Zimmermann and Strasburg will make strong cases, don’t forget about the crafty veteran pitcher on the mound in St. Louis.