(BaseballStL) — The art of survival can be a tricky thing on the mound. Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn have seemingly become masters of it, posting nine wins combined while allowing 36 runs between them in eight starts apiece.
Manager Mike Matheny has stated time and again that simply hanging in and fighting through a rough start is something wildly under appreciated in the majors.
While Adam Wainwright didn’t have anywhere near the trouble he had in Chicago, his start Tuesday required perseverance as he scattered hits and patiently waited for the calvary to show up for his seventh win.
After a five-pitch first inning, Wainwright followed with a 24-pitch second, allowing a walk, a single, and a fielder’s choice before getting out of the inning with men on first and third. It was clear his dominance wasn’t there early, and the Cubs could sense it as well.
“Today was one of those days where I was locating fine but my stuff was very pedestrian,” Wainwright said. “For whatever reason- I don’t know why- but I was lacking that late jump on my heater, I was throwing cutters last game harder than I was throwing my fastball tonight.”
Chicago would hit pay dirt in the next frame, when Luis Valbuena hit a two-run shot off the Cardinal starter. Pitcher Jake Arrieta had reached on a single to start the inning for the Cubs, and Valbuena’s homer came 12 pitches into the inning. It was a sinker on the inside half, and Wainwright said he was
surprised it got out of the park.
“It was a location that I was trying to throw the ball,” he said. “He’s a strong man though, and he’s capable of hitting home runs in all fields. Not that his power surprised me, more that he just hit that pitch and it was a decent location.”
Wainwright would steady himself, escaping without further damage, and the Cardinals would show a flash of support with one run in the bottom half.
From there, the St. Louis ace would scatter one hit an inning, holding the Cubs scoreless through six before being pinch hit for by Jon Jay.
After the game, Matheny praised his ace’s performance, noting how much the 32-year-old had to fight through in his six innings.
“He had guys on base all the time. I think he had one clean inning,” he said. “That curveball some days, and it can be a number of different things, it didn’t have the number of swings and misses as you typically see.”
In all, Wainwright would allow seven hits and strike out four. It wasn’t the dominance that he has flashed all season, but it was enough to put him in position for a win when the Cardinals took the lead following his removal in the sixth.
“Everything was going where it was supposed to but it didn’t have the sharpness that it usually does,” he said. “There’s going to be days like that. That’s where you learn to pitch and get outs anyway.”
He would ultimately end with a no decision when the Cubs tied the contest in the ninth inning, but even in rough seas, he steadied the ship enough to give the Cardinals a chance to win their 20th game.