With a 51-43 record heading into Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals entered play one game back of the first place Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals have found themselves in this good position even though they have been struggling throughout the first half of the season. Those struggles have been mostly offense related, but two starters who had been pitching well this season are on the disabled list. The Cardinals have injuries to pitchers Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, and Shebly Miller has been struggling again. Despite the early struggles and dealing with costly injuries, Adam Wainwright has been nothing short of a work horse for St. Louis.
After his last start in Milwaukee, Adam Wainwright’s ERA sits at 1.83, good enough for second in all of baseball behind Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. He pitched seven innings, giving up two earned runs on five hit and no walks, while striking out four. His WHIP now stands at an wonderful 0.92 as well. Wainwright received the win bring him to a tie for most wins in baseball at 12, but more importantly, he put St. Louis in a tie for first place with Milwaukee.
Wainwright is in the group with Kershaw and Johnny Cueto of the Reds as the NL’s top three hurlers. According to baseball-reference.com, before his last start, Wainwright has the highest WAR total of the three pitchers. WAR, as defined by baseball-reference.com, is a number that represents the amount of wins a player added to the team above what a replacement player would add. Wainwrights WAR is at 4.9 on the season, while Kershaw’s is 4.2 and Jhonny Cueto’s sits at 3.4. Yes one win may not seem like a lot, but in a NL Central that will have at least three, if not four, teams competing for a title, it might be the difference.
Adam Wainwright is one of the most crucial elements for this St. Louis squad to be successful. He is exactly what a team looks for in an ace of the pitching staff and then some. The Redbirds’ ace gives his team an advantage every time he pitches, regardless of the opponent. Wainwright also eats innings when a bullpen has been depleted the night before. He has become the leader of a young and talented pitching staff as well. This St. Louis club has become Wainwright’s team, especially with Yadier Molina out with injury.
Adam Wainwright has been fantastic for the Cardinals. His numbers have been just as fantastic, but the number three sticks out most of all. In all but three of his starts (16 of 19), Wainwright has allowed two or fewer runs. There have only been three starts where Wainwright did not have at least seven innings pitched. The best statistic involving the number three is the number of starts the Cardinals have lost when Wainwright has pitched. The Cardinals have a remarkable 16 wins and only three loses when their ace takes the hill.
Adam Wainwright has dominated the first half of the season and is a big reason the Cardinals are tied for first place in the NL Central. With Yadier Molina out for quite some time, Wainwright will need to continue that dominance. Good news for St. Louis Cardinals fans, as their first-half savior, Mr. Wainwright, doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
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