PITTSBURGH - Adam Wainwright will look for his 16th win of the year and the St. Louis Cardinals will try to take the series from the Pirates in the final game of a short road trip at PNC Park.
Before the game, manager Mike Matheny addressed Wainwright’s recent struggles and defended his pitcher.
“Look at the leaderboard this year and whose name is there? Adam’s. So it isn’t as though he’s just fallen completely off. He’s not ineffective. What I see is a fluctuation in consistency. He’s human. What we’re all used to seeing is a guy who can put the ball wherever he wants it on every pitch. That’s nearly impossible to do all year.”
Wainwright’s ERA (2.52) is still among the league leaders although he has struggled recently, mostly recently surrendering a three-run lead in a 5-4 loss to the Phillies. He has lost two of his last three games, a markedly different pitcher than before the All-Star break, when he allowed just four earned runs in his final six games.
“His job is to keep us in the game,” Matheny said. “And he’s done that. He’s always fighting, always making in game adjustments. He’s trying to find a way to get it done.”
Matheny also said that All-Star catcher Yadier Molina’s rehab workout in Class AA Springfield went very well and he is scheduled to catch five innings Wednesday. Additionally, Michael Wacha, also in Springfield rehabbing his injured shoulder, is scheduled to throw today.
Matheny also said Justin Masterson’s bullpen session Wednesday morning went very well and he continues to make progress as he searches for consistency. He has been ineffective in several of his starts this year for the Cardinals who acquired him as he came off the DL before the trading deadline from the Cleveland Indians.
Matheny said the coaching staff continues to identify small mechanical adjustments he needs to make to enable him to master repeatable mechanics. Masterson has struggled with control at times, but pitched brilliantly against Miami on Aug. 13 in a 5-2 Cardinal victory.