(BaseballStL) - The Cardinals got some fantastic news today when they learned All Star catcher Yadier Molina would be activated off the disabled list and be starting behind the plate. Michael Wacha is making significant progress in coming back from his own shoulder injury.
Jason Motte could even be on the mend, too.
But no matter what happens with the health of others, no matter what happens with guys like Justin Masterson finding his power sinker that once put him in the All Star game, if the ace of the staff – Adam Wainwright – doesn’t get back to the dominant form we all know and expect from him it really won’t matter.
The Cardinals won’t be winning the 2014 World Series if he isn’t in tip top shape.
And isn’t winning the World Series really all that matters? For a team that’s come so very close the last couple years and actually won the whole thing back in 2011, coming close just doesn’t do it anymore. They expect to win the whole enchilada. Anything less is not good enough.
Since the All Star break Wainwright just hasn’t been himself though. He’s 3-5 with an uncharacteristically high 4.68 ERA in 8 starts. Opponents are hitting .281 off of him during that span. He’s struck out just 35 batters in 50 innings as well.
That’s a far cry from his numbers in the first half when he was 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA and a .201 opponents’ batting average.
What’s the reasoning for all of this? Well, Wainwright just says he’s off. He says there isn’t any rhyme or reason for it other than the fact he hasn’t pitched well. He says there have signs that he’s coming around and expects to pitch better the rest of the season.
It’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen from here on out. Historically, when Adam Wainwright goes through something like this he almost always finds something mechanical that’s wrong with him and when he figures out what that is and he fixes it, he takes off.
It’s happened several times in the past. So Cardinals fans should hope that this is just a quick fix with his delivery and nothing more.
If it’s not? If it’s something related to his health, or even worse, hitters are starting to figure him out? That’s bad news for this organization.
It could mean this team’s chances in 2014 take a considerable hit.