Adam Wainwright finally reached 200 wins on Monday last week. It was later revealed that before his start, he was dealing with a bout of back spasms.
It was so bad in fact that he almost didn’t pitch, according to John Denton. However, he pushed through pain and a bad bullpen session to toss his best game of the year, going seven strong innings without allowing a run.
Wainwright’s next turn through the rotation would have been last night in San Diego. However, the Cardinals opted not to start him and instead went with Jake Woodford.
And so, this begs the question. Will Wainwright pitch one last time before the regular season ends, or will the Cardinals let his 200th win be the final start of his career?
As we obviously know by now, Wainwright is set to retire. The Cardinals are also officially eliminated from postseason contention and will be sitting on the couch this October, making Wainwright’s start against the Dodgers in the 2021 Wild Card Game his final appearance in a postseason game, as he did not pitch in the Wild Card Series last October against the Phillies.
At times, it was very painful to watch Wainwright this year. His velocity has been down and he’s 5-11 on the year with a 7.40 ERA. Without a doubt, this has been the worst season of his career, and there were times where I thought he might call it quits before the end of the season.
But his last two starts were pretty good. He went a combined 12 innings and allowed just two runs. He turned back the clock against the Brewers and completely dominated the Cardinals NL Central rivals to earn that historic win.
As of now, the Cardinals don’t have their pitching plans lined up for next weekend. Oli Marmol said last week that if Wainwright is to pitch again, it will take place in the final weekend of the season with the Reds in town.
If Wainwright’s 200th win was indeed his final start, then he’ll ride off into the sunset on a positive note. The weekend is going to be a nice celebration of the veteran right-hander’s legendary career. On Saturday, he’ll do a postgame concert. Sunday will begin with a ceremony honoring the two-time World Series champion and three-time All-Star.
But if you ask me, he has to pitch again at least one more time. That way, we as fans can say a proper goodbye to him. His body may have other ideas, and father time is undefeated for a reason. That’s one element we can’t control.
And if he does pitch again, I can’t imagine that it’ll be a long outing by any stretch of the imagination. But in my opinion, it would be totally fitting just to see him take the mound one last time and have “God’s Country” by Blake Shelton playing as he sprints onto the field.
The ceremony and concert will be great, but I personally need to see him sprint out to the mound just one more time. Like I said, I doubt it would be a long outing, but since learning that he was going to retire, I’ve envisioned him making one last start and pitching an inning or two, maybe more before Marmol comes to take him out. And I’ve imagined a nice standing ovation for the right-hander and a tip of the cap to the crowd after he hands Oli the ball and walks off the field.
Of course, he may not pitch again. But I’m hoping that on the last day of the season, after the ceremony, he makes one final start or appearance, just so the fans can say goodbye to him. It’s been a tough year, but if we can get one last appearance from Waino and see him show off Old Uncle Charlie one more time, I will be satisfied.