ST. LOUIS – Adam Wainwright summed up his and the Cardinals' performance Saturday in their 3-0 loss to the Giants in simple terms.
“Today, I was not great and the pitcher that pitched against us was,” he said.
Sure, Wainwright gave up three runs, only two of which were earned, but the right-hander never looked sharp beyond the first inning – the only inning he retired the Giants in order. He threw 98 pitches in 4.2 innings and worked behind in the count often. The Cardinal ace downplayed the pain he felt in the back of his elbow prior to his start in Game 1 of the NLCS, but doubts lingered as he faltered through his four-plus innings of work.
“My arm, like I said, it doesn’t feel great,” Wainwright continued, “but I should be a lot better, results-wise than that. My last start it was better in the first inning, too. Against the Dodgers, I re-aggravated it in the first inning and after that it was a grind. Today I would say it wasn't much different in the fifth inning from the first inning. It just wasn’t great.”
Wainwright said he talked to AJ Pierzynski after he exited, and the two discussed how out of sync his delivery and motion were.
“He’s right. I was late, dramatically late, getting the ball out of my glove which doesn’t allow your arm to have time to get into the proper position to throw the ball. My stride length is about a foot shorter than it should be, and it’s not giving my arm enough time to get where it needs to be.”
His manager also tried to deflect attention away from Wainwright’s elbow problems to his execution and his high pitch count.
“There are some days that it feels better than others as far as his stuff,” said Mike Matheny, “and you can tell he was working hard. He was working deeper counts. You start looking at that pitch count in the middle innings, and that not very typical of Adam when everything feels right. And Madison Bumgarner was good today. He kept us from having that big inning.”
Despite the rough outing, Yaider Molina said Wainwright had improved over his start in Los Angeles.
“For me, he looked good,” the catcher said, “You have to give [the Giants] credit. They put some good bats up against him and made him work and made him throw a lot of pitches. We didn’t have the best location, but at the same time, they put the ball in play and found some holes.”
Unfortunately for Wainwright, his offense didn’t provide any help as Madison Bumgarner extended his postseason scoreless innings streak on the road to 26.2 innings. Bumgarner gave up four hits in his seven-plus innings and his bullpen retired the next seven straight batters to hold onto the shutout.
“He was on top of his game,” said Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy, “He executed all night against a tough lineup. He’s a guy that you want out there to start things and he gave us all what we were asking.”
The Cardinals will look to even the series on the back of starter Lance Lynn as he faces Jake Peavy at 7 p.m Sunday.