Wainwright’s path to 999 career strikeouts

By Max Leinwand, FOX Sports Midwest Producer

ST. LOUIS – Adam Wainwright came up for two games in 2005, and in two innings, didn’t strike out a batter. But he eventually got career strikeout No. 1 in the first game of the 2006 season against the Phillies. That was one of 72 strikeouts in 75 innings of relief work in 2006 – a rate of 8.64 per nine innings.  

Since 2006, Wainwright’s 999 strikeouts are the ninth most in the National League, and that’s after missing an entire season.

He’s struck out more than 200 batters twice in a season (2009 and 2010), when he fanned 212 and 213, respectively.
Waino owns the new Busch Stadium records for strikeouts in a single season (125) and career (538).

His most frequent victims have been the Milwaukee Brewers. He has 139 K’s against the Brew Crew, nearly one-seventh of his career total. He has whiffed Ryan Braun 15 times, and Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks 14 times each. He struck out a career-high five straight batters against Milwaukee on July 18, 2012.  

Waino has 504 strikeouts against lefties, 495 against righties, 372 during the day and 627 at night. He has struck out 164 batters in the second inning, the most of any frame, and he has 313 with no outs, 321 with one out and 365 with two out. He has struck out the side 26 times.

Swinging strikeouts have accounted for 712 of his victims, while 284 have been looking and three have been on foul bunts.

What about by pitch? Not surprisingly, Waino’s curveball has been the author of more than half of his 999 strikeouts (504). That’s followed by his fastball, which he has blown by people for strike three 266 times.

The catcher for 875 of Waino’s K’s has been Yadier Molina. Rob Drake has been behind Yadi for 41 of Wainwright’s strikeouts, the most of any umpire.

Incredibly, Wainwright had just one start in which he didn’t strike out a single batter. But through his career, he has struck out one in every five batters he’s faced – 3 percent better than the league average.

Wainwright will undoubtedly become one of five Cardinal pitchers to reach 1,000 strikeouts.  The only question is how high that total will go.