(BaseballStL) – Adam Wainwright, the National League’s second-winningest pitcher, could make his final start of the regular season Monday night.
Though he is slated to make one more start, it would be the last game of the year against the Cubs. As the season’s final 54 innings play out over the next week, the Cardinals would likely look for any reason to rest Wainwright before the postseason.
If they have clinched the Central, he could skip his last start to charge up before the NLDS, and if they are forced into a one-game playoff, he would probably be the starter, which would mean he rests for that game.
Were the Birds to face a scenario in which they must beat the Cubs to avoid the one-game playoff or to clinch home field advantage, he would most assuredly take the mound. Other than that, I imagine his name will be penciled in as lightly as possible for September 29.
If this is his last regular season start, he drew a fine test. The Nationals are desperately trying to reach the postseason, a campaign that will fall short if they lose Monday and the Pirates and Reds both win.
A taste of high-intensity competition is always good heading into playoff time, and Wainwright has the advantage of having dominated the Nationals in his last two starts against them. He has allowed one run and struck out 14 in the last 14.1 innings against Washington, perhaps vengeance after being manhandled in D.C. last August when he gave up nine hits and six runs in 2.2.
Since his last loss, Wainwright has allowed four runs in his last 22.2 innings. He’s won two of those three starts, and the club has logged a win in all three.
Despite giving up 10 hits in 121 pitches in his last start, he allowed only three runs in his 7.2 innings of work.
His 22 strikeouts over that stretch helped him remain tied in second place with Cliff Lee on the NL leaderboard. Both have 209.