He stands tall at 6-foot-7 and weighs 228-pounds. He’s 32 years of age and is working through his eighth year in MLB. As he ages, St. Louis Cardinals‘ Adam Wainwright simply just keeps getting better. On Thursday night against an offensive juggernaut in the Washington Nationals, Wainwright put together a complete-game statement to the rest of the league.
Over his nine innings of work, Wainwright struck out eight, giving up just three walks. It took him 110 pitches to get through the game, so he was efficient in his work on the mound. Between the second and eighth inning, he retired 18 consecutive Nationals.
On the season, he has now improved to 3-1 with an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 0.87. He’s gone at least seven full innings in all four of his starts and has pitched roughly 100 pitches each outing. When he’s taken the mound, the Cardinals have stood a pretty solid chance of winning.
After his fourth start, it’s time to officially establish him as a favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award. Say what you will about the likes of Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija and Yovani Gallardo, but Wainwright is putting together quite a resume for the honor. Sure, Clayton Kershaw has yet to pitch, but he’s got some serious catching up to do once he does take the mound.
On Thursday night in D.C., Wainwright put on an absolute clinic on the mound. All of his stuff was nasty and he showed great command. While he did give up two hits, the first one was an infield single to Ian Desmond in the second inning and the second was a deep single to Adam LaRoche in the ninth inning. Don’t let the box score fool you — even those two hits were well earned.
While there is still a long way to go in the 2014 season, he’s looking very sharp early on and history tells us that’s not a good sign for the competition.