Adam Wainwright must return to St. Louis Cardinals this year


Adam Wainwright tore his achilles tendon back in April as he was leaving the batters box and it appeared to be a down year. Despite his insistence that he would be back to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals this year, it seemed impossible to fathom. One does not simply recover that quickly from a torn achilles tendon.

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However, Adam Wainwright threw a bullpen session for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 7th and after a seriously shoddy stretch, particularly off the mound, Wainwright may be needed. The St. Louis Cardinals need a boost and whether that come now or when the playoffs kick off, Wainwright could provide it.

I made the ill-fated prediction that the St. Louis Cardinals would not be able to cope with the loss of Wainwright this year. Since that time, they have gone on one of the most impressive and improbable runs in baseball, seemingly securing a playoff spot so long ago. Through a strewn-together starting rotation, the Birds have held opponents at bay. They have the best ERA in the Majors by a long shot (2.85 compared to the second place Pittsburgh Pirates’ 3.19).

They also have the best starting pitching ERA in the league at 3.01. All of this from the unlikely ace duo of John Lackey and Lance Lynn, a duo of youngsters in Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez and the venerable Jaime Garcia.

But what had been going right all year has suddenly gone horribly wrong.

In September, the most important month of the regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals have a 5.59 ERA. It has been inconsistency from the starters lately. Great starts have been offset by awful starts. Lance Lynn had a shutout followed by a 2.1 inning beating. Jaime Garcia has had a shutout sandwiched between 10 earned runs across 10.2 innings. Wacha had a shutout followed by surrendering 6 runs.

It is at the point of the season where innings pitched may start to expose the weaknesses in teams.

The St. Louis Cardinals need an ace. They need a guy that can pitch 9.0 innings and pick apart the opposing lineup. John Lackey has been good but he is not a domineering force. He gets the job done while still allowing a high number of base runners. Lackey sits 36th in the league in WHIP among starting pitchers. That is not the worst position by any means but for an ace, albeit a stand-in ace, you need more.

Adam Wainwright is not going to be hurried back by the St. Louis Cardinals. He is the most important player on this team. But if he is capable of coming back, he has to come back. That gives the Cardinals their ultimate weapon at a time where they sorely need pitching.

Problems like this, arising in September, do not bode well for October, when there have been more innings thrown. Adam Wainwright is a playoff expert and one of the best pitchers of his generation. Hard to think that the St. Louis Cardinals would delay his return any more than they have to.

Next: Heyward is key to the Cardinal's future

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