St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright came into October a top candidate to win the NL Cy Young. He’s now leaving the month with one of his worst stretches of baseball after managing just a 2-4 record with a 5.17 ERA in August. Needless to say, he’s out of the Cy Young race, but will his bad month carry into September?
Wainwright admitted after his start Wednesday, in which he needed 103 pitches to last six innings and took the loss after allowing three runs, that he was dealing with a dead arm according to a report from Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Dispatch
“I’ve been going through a dead arm phase. Everybody does that. You have to find a way to get outs. Most of the time today I found ways to get outs. It’s not pretty. But I found ways to get outs. One of these days it’s going to click in and it’s going to be real nice … I’m ready for September.”
After entering August with an ERA of just 1.92, Wainwright will leave the month with a 2.59 ERA. His fastball velocity has dropped to an average of 90 in the month and uncharacteristically walked at least one batter in all six games in August. Both numbers began late in July, when Wainwright walked ten batters in a three game stretch, but was able to battle and give up just six run and compile a 2-1 record.
Wainwright’s tired arm is completely understandable. After sitting out the 2011 season with Tommy John surgery, Wainwright pitched 213 combined innings in 2012 and a career high 276 innings in 2013. Knowing he did so, Wainwright changed his offseason regimen to include more rest, but after throwing 188 innings already this season, Wainwright may need to incorporate some more rest into this season.
The return of Michael Wacha, who is scheduled to make his first rehab start on Sunday, may allow some time for Wainwright to take off, although it may mean pitching Justin Masterson, who has been one of the worst pitchers in the MLB since arriving in St. Louis, another start or two in his stint.
Wainwright’s dead arm is a concern now, but if he’s not given some time to recover, the Cardinals’ chances in the playoffs will be slim-to-none.