Today Adam Wainwright takes on the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jeff Locke. I have been very concerned about Adam lately, to be honest. Ever since Yadier Molina went down with a torn UCL in his right thumb, Waino has been very... mediocre. His strikeouts have been down, his walks, hits, and runs allowed have been up. Sometimes he misses his spots. Sometimes his breaking pitches do not seem sharp. Sometimes both of these things happen at the same time. Sometimes he gives up a big inning. Sometimes he gives up multiple small innings. With his past Tommy John surgery and his recent elbow tendinitis, coupled with his workload the past three years, this recent funk is very troubling, very troubling indeed. I keep looking for the tall righty to turn back into the unhittable machine he was in the beginning of the season - to give me a sign that he is okay, and that I shouldn't worry. Please, let that day be today.
This lineup is weird and it makes me uncomfortable.
Adam Wainwright surrendered three runs today. At first glance, those three runs look like the ending to yet another mediocre Second Half Adam start. But we don't just look at results around here like bumps on a log. We look deeper.
Two-thirds of the runs given up by Waino today were on an Ike Effin' Davis home run in the second. That makes it his 1,000,000th homer against us, which is just shy of Pedro Alvarez's total. Without that homer, Wainwright's day looks more Wainwrightian. According to Brooks, Adam threw twenty-one curveballs, fourteen of which went for strikes. Five of those were swings and misses, four were outs, and five were foul balls. His most used pitch was his cutter, which was the pitch Davis swatted out of the park like a gnat. It was down and in like it is supposed to be, but it was also to a left-handed batter.
The Pirates tacked on a third insurance run in the third after BABIPing poor Wainwright nearly to death. Three straight singles, one a ground ball single, the other Gameday describes as a "bunt ground ball to the pitcher", set up Andrew McCutchen for the sacrifice fly. He would then display why he is the Cardinals's ace by promptly making mincemeat pie out of Neil Walker and Russel Martin, striking both out on the curveball.
Yes, that is a Nasty Factor of 88. I am still not really sure what that means, but it is one of the highest I have seen. The beautiful thing about these back-to-back strikeouts were the set-up pitches prior. Against Walker on the left, Waino went with a fastball inside, and to Martin, a cutter in nearly an identical spot as the following curveball. Two different set-ups, same results.
It is really quite tough to watch Adam be actually human lately, especially without his other half around, but this loss today isn't solely on his broad shoulders. While Wainwright wasn't a magnificent specimen of man we have grown accustomed to seeing, the offense was unable to give him any real run support what-so-ever. The Cardinals were able to grind out seven hits, but only managed a single, lonely, meager run on a Matt Holliday dinger. Off Jeff Locke. Off the same Jeff Locke that has been so, well, not good, that a man was able to create a convincing enough story that baseball was forced to investigate it that Locke was intentionally throwing games.
Carlos Martinez pitched well in relief, working around base runners to allow no runs. In two full innings he struck out none and allowed two singles, but he also walked none, which is important for him. Also of note, Daniel Descalso continues to be the biggest VEB troll that ever lived, going 2-4 while making an athletic defensive play.
LIL SCOOTER'S PAIN IN THE ASS OF THE GAME
The recipient of this revered honor is Pirates starting pitcher, Jeff Locke, with a WPA of .257. Not only did he pitch seven and one-third innings of one-run ball on three strikeouts, two walks, and six hits, but he also contributed with the bat, going 2-3 with a run scored on the afternoon.
TWEET/GAMETHREAD COMMENT OF THE GAME:
Cheer up everyone. While the road trip was a bummer, there is good news on the horizon:
Winter is coming.
Enjoy your off day tomorrow. The Birdos are back at Busch at 7:15pm on Friday as Shelby Miller squares off against Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs.