(BaseballStL) — Game 1 began about as rough as it could have for Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright. Through a mix of hits, errors, bizarre plays and up and down momentum, the opening contest proved to be a harbinger of the unexpected for the World Series.
After a wild throwing error in Game 2, an obstruction call in Game 3 and a walk-off pick off play in Game 4, Wainwright finds himself taking the mound in Game 5 with the series edge in the balance.
“We don't take lightly the fact that our ace is our ace, and when he's on the mound we feel like we have a great chance,” said Mike Matheny before Monday’s game. “We do have a lot of trust that we put in Adam.”
Wainwright’s five-inning start last Wednesday was his shortest outing since August 28 against Cincinnati, where he went just two innings.
The 32-year-old has a history of returning strong from troubled outings, and Matheny said Monday he thinks the Georgia native has found something that gave him confidence for his rematch with the Red Sox.
“I think that pitching is really a feel for him, especially talking about his breaking ball. I think he did a little bit more this time in between than he normally does,” said the Cardinal skipper. “He said he really found something that clicked, and usually the veteran pitchers, it is; it comes down to that one little thing, a little minor adjustment here that made everything else come together. And he was pretty happy about how he felt in between.”
With the series tied 2-2, Wainwright’s adjustments could put young Michael Wacha in a position to clinch another series- and with it, a title- for St. Louis.
No matter the outcome Monday, the rookie phenom will pitch in his third elimination setting this postseason. Wacha threw Game 4 of the NLDS in Pittsburgh with the Cardinals down 2-1, Game 6 of the NLCS in St. Louis while up 3-2 and will start Game 6 in Boston.