Last year, many fans ruled out the Cardinals because Adam Wainwright had to sit out the season after having Tommy John surgery. This season, with the loss of Pujols, many fans discounted the Cards again. Faithful fans pointed to Wainwright to show they will be just as good without Pujols, but his production this season has been anything but good.
Don't hit the panic button just yet Cardinal fans. Wainwright will come back around.
Wainwright is currently 2-4 with a 6.16 ERA, nearly double his career average. His WHIP is 1.50, and for the pitcher, the future does not look bright. On average, pitchers who have received Tommy John surgery have seen their ERA rise and their strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9) decrease.
However, there are bright spots for Wainwright.
Since his surgery, Wainwright has had great control. In 33.2 innings pitched, he has struck out 34 batters while only walking seven. This means that he is striking out at least one batter per inning, and he will only walk a batter in just over 4.5 innings. While his ERA might not show it, he has been effective with his pitches.
In his four losses, Wainwright has not had the offense that he has needed to keep him in the game. During the innings that he has pitched, the Cardinal offense have scored exactly zero runs. No matter how good of a pitcher you are, if your offense does not score a single run, the best you can get is a no decision.
But when the offense does contribute, Wainwright wins. In both of his wins, the Redbirds scored 14 runs for him, while he only allowed five. When the offense gets ahead, the pitcher gets the confidence and the ability to paint the corners and make the opponent fish for hits, something Wainwright is very good at.
Wainwright's numbers are inflated because of the lack of offense in front of him, and his control has been the bright spot for the pitcher. With more innings and more pitches, Wainwright will get back in his groove and will be back for the prime of his career.
Wainwright has nowhere to go but up.