(Busch Stadium) In the scorebook, it will go down as a no-decision for Adam Wainwright. But the St. Louis Cardinals starter was much better than his line of 6.1 innings and 4 earned runs reflects.
Carrying a scoreless streak of eight consecutive innings into the game, Wainwright allowed only one run until the 7th inning when a pair of errors in the outfield resulted in extra bases off bloop singles.
“I didn’t have as crisp a cutter or fastball, but I located well and had a good breaking ball going,” said Wainwright. “That’s probably the softest four runs I’ve ever given up. That was incredible. There was a lot of–big league teams do that, though. They find ways to make guys score if you let them out there. Just gotta keep guys off base.”
Yadier Molina tied the game back up with a 2-run homer in the 7th inning.
“That was awesome,” said Wainwright. “Their guy was throwing a good game on the other side. I don’t think he’d walked anybody all day and then he came out and walked that lead off guy and Yadier made him pay for it.”
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the 10th inning, when Tyler O’Neill hit a walk-off homer.
The win was important for St. Louis to at least maintain their 1.5 game lead for the second NL Wild Card spot. But there was also significance as it could have been the final start or appearance at Busch Stadium for Wainwright with the St. Louis Cardinals. He is in the final year of his contract.
“Didn’t weigh on me at all,” Wainwright said. “Could’ve been. You never know. Maybe it’s not, because I didn’t feel like it was. I think I’ve got a few more starts here in the post season that are going to be pretty special.”
“People always ask me what Adam Wainwright means to this organization, he’s had an amazing career here,” said John Mozeliak earlier this weekend. “Originally, when we gave him that start two weeks ago a lot of people were questioning if it was just because or from a nostalgic standpoint. It was much more than that. We believed he would give us a chance and not only did he do that that night, but he did again last Sunday which is important. Obviously, when he starts those games are huge.”
The starts from Wainwright may be huge, but how much of an impact will his finish have on how the Cardinals evaluate his future with the team after this season?
“Trying to worry about the future when you have so much at stake now is more of a distraction,” answered Mozeliak. “I don’t think anybody’s going to be worrying about 2019 at this time. In the offseason, we’ll have plenty of time to look at that and decide what that looks like.”
Mozeliak did not want to comment if the thinking on the matter had changed from where it may have been two months ago. And it’s understandable that making the post season and going as deep as possible towards winning a World Series should be the focus for all involved.
But as the games wind down the question of Wainwright’s future can’t help but become more of a storyline if for no other reason than fans to be able to fully appreciate and take in what these potential moments could be.
“I haven’t slept any different or thought anymore of it so, we’ve been through this a few times,” said Wainwright, artfully directing the topic back to the team winning. “Yadier and a couple of these guys in here, we’ve been to the post a few times and know what it feels like to get these big games and to be in the moment here in September is really special. I’m glad some of our young guys are playing meaningful games here in September. We haven’t played in the post season in a few years, it’s just about time for us to do that again.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports