I want to see Adam Wainwright start Game Four.
I started writing a rather intellectual argument as to why Adam Wainwright should start Game Four, with consideration of the current performance level of various Cardinal starters, optimal bullpen usage with regards to leverage...
It was all a smokescreen. The truth is I want to see Adam Wainwright start Game Four because I want to see something magical happen. Let's cut to the chase. That's what we're here for, isn't it? We're magic junkies.
When I was a kid, I hadn't build up such a tolerance to it and magic was everywhere. Vince Coleman was the fastest player in the world. Jack Clark was the greatest home run hitter in the world. (Okay, Vince Coleman might have actually been the fastest, but you see my point.) Over time, you get a little dulled to it all. You've seen players rise and fall. Great plays and seasons happen, but they are usually within the realm of expected values. But every now and then, there is still something magical.
In Game Five of the 2005 NLCS, with the Cardinals down two runs, with two out in the 9th inning, Albert Pujols hits the longest home run in the history of baseball and don't you dare tell me it wasn't. The Cardinals lost the pennant; the Astros went to the World Series, but the high from that moment - I'll never forget it.
And that was nothing compared to Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. I mean, if magic is our drug of choice, Game 6 was our Burning Man.
Adam Wainwright has already given us a lot of magic in his career. When he limped off the field on April 21 with a torn achilles, there was no question he was done for the season. And yet Wainwright went down to the crossroads and made some kind of deal with the devil during his rehab, and now he's back in the bullpen, busting off curveballs and looking downright "Wainwrighty."
That's some magic, and I should be more than happy with it. But what can I say? My name is Ben and I'm a magic junkie. I want to see Adam Wainwright start Game Four because I think it could be amazing.
Now, is there any logical reason to think he should start Game Four? Well...
I'm pretty confident that Adam Wainwright is the best pitcher on this team right now. The Cardinals may only have 18 innings left in their season, so making sure those innings go to the best pitcher available is critical.
While Wainwright appears to be healthy, he is not "stretched out" to be able to go as deep into a game as a starter is traditionally expected to go. He has consistently said that he thinks he could pitch three innings, and I'm inclined to take him at his word.
The option is not a full Wainwright start, but a piggyback start - Wainwright throwing the first three (four?) innings, with another "starter" ready to take the baton from there. Tyler Lyons is the most obvious candidate, but given what happened in Game 2, Lance Lynn or Jaime Garcia could also be possibilities. Given the choice of any of those guys as a Game Four starter or a piggyback start, I'd say Waino + [pick one] sounds pretty good to me.
Maybe that's the smart decision, especially in the event the Cardinals are facing elimination. Or maybe that's just where I think I could see some magic. It's the postseason. It's hard for me to differentiate the two.