St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was at the plate and hit a pop up to Adam Lind at first base.
At first glance, it appeared the ball would drift foul. So Wainwright stood in the batter’s box, looking up to watch the ball soaring into the air.
Noticing the ball was coming back towards play, with Milwaukee Brewers‘ first baseman Adam Lind positioning himself underneath it, Wainwright motioned to jog towards first base.
Only that first step never really happened.
Wainwright lurched forward, trying to force himself down the line.
But whatever damage was going to occur had already been done.
It appears to be an Achilles injury, which is a long and difficult path back.
4 shutout innings in the books to go along with 4 strikeouts, no walks and a 1.44 ERA on the 2015 season.
And that’s how we might be remembering Adam Wainwright until next season, because this could very well be it for the 33-year old veteran leader of the pitching staff.
You’re going to hear a lot about how this is the end of the Cardinals’ season, but I’m not buying it.
Yes, it’s obviously a huge blow. John Lackey, 36, is the only other veteran left in the starting rotation. I don’t see him stepping up to be the new leader; he’s a relative newcomer to the franchise.
But it’s not as though Lance Lynn, 28, isn’t capable of being that veteran face of the staff. He’s in his 5th year in the Bigs, all spent with the Cardinals, and owns a 50-30 lifetime record with a 3.47 ERA and 8.8 strikeouts per 9 innings.
The Cards came into the season with a surplus of pitching in case this sort of thing came up, as it so often does for a team during the course of a 162 game season.
Don’t worry about the Cardinals. They’ll be fine. They’re still going to be favorites to win the division. They always seem to find a way.
2015 will still likely be a successful season.
It just won’t be the same without Wainwright.
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Internally available candidates who have been mentioned to replace Wainwright in the rotation:
* Marco Gonzales – He almost made the team out of spring training and has started well in AAA but was recently placed on the 7-day DL with a sore pectoral. Possibly the Cards tread water with this spot in the rotation for a turn or two until Gonzales can get the call up.
* Carlos Villanueva – The relief pitcher has often worked in a “swing” role before.
* Tim Cooney – Doing so-so in AAA this year, but questions remain about the lefties ability to get righties out at the big league level. The peripherals don’t look so great.
* Tyler Lyons – The lefty made 12 ineffective starts for the Birds last year, had a bad spring and is getting tagged at AAA.
* Zach Petrick – 25-year old right-hander with a bloated ERA (8.66) at AAA but some decent peripherals (12/2 K/BB ration in 17 innings).
* Jaime Garcia – Had a nice spring in trying to work his way back to the bigs, but injuries will likely keep him out another couple of months.
Waino’s turn in the rotation is due up Thursday, so look for one of those first three names to take his spot until Gonzales and Garcia have recovered from injuries they are dealing with.
I have a strange feeling we’ll see the Cards pull off a trade that brings in a stud to replace Wainwright. They’ll have an opportunity to scout Cole Hamels tonight, in fact, going up against the lefty and the Philadelphia Phillies at home.
The bright spot, if you believe in those sorts of things, is that Wainwright missed out on the 2011 season with Tommy John surgery. That was the most recent World Series win for the franchise.
Also don’t forget that they already have some young kids contributing in a huge way, namely Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha. It’s not as though Wainwright himself was the sole reason the Cards lead the National League with a 2.24 team ERA.
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National League Ranks
* * *
|4-15||MILWAUKEE||Nelson (1-1, 1.35)|
|8-10||CINCINNATI||Marquis (1-1, 7.20)|
|6:10 PM CT|
|11-8||PITTSBURGH||Worley (2-1, 4.00)|
|10-7||CHICAGO||Hammel (1-1, 5.19)|
|7:05 PM CT|
|7-12||Philadelphia||Hamels (0-2, 3.75)|
|12-5||ST. LOUIS||Lackey (1-0, 4.34)|
|7:15 PM CT|
* * *
|St. Louis Cardinals||12||5||–||L1|