St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright Cy Young Seasons Have Passed
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright had the unfortunate disadvantage of pitching in the National League when he did. During his best years, Wainwright was often one of the top pitchers in baseball. This did little to help him win a Cy Young Award as he was never number one.
The National League has featured some incredibly talented starting pitchers during Wainwright’s career. Just as he was beginning to make a name for himself, Tim Lincecum was dominating with the San Francisco Giants. As soon as Lincecum hit a wall, Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw emerged as the game’s top pitcher.
As a result, Wainwright became the ultimate runner-up when the Cy Young is involved. In 2010 and 2013 he finished in second place. In 2010 and 2014 Wainwright settled for a third place finish. The stiff competition proved too much for him.
In his most recent outing against the Washington Nationals, Wainwright delivered a poor reminder of how dilapidated his abilities have become. He’s no longer the ace he once was. Games like that have officially signaled the end of his Cy Young candidacy.
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Up until last season, Wainwright was still one of MLB’s top arms. It’s pretty remarkable what he accomplished during his career especially considering he missed all of 2011 and almost all of 2015. Both seasons were years when Wainwright could have added to his already impressive wins total. Not many pitchers can rebound from missing almost two full seasons in such a short span. Wainwright is the exception to the norm as he remained productive until 2016.
Through two starts, the 2017 season seems to have picked up where the 2016 season left off. Wainwright ended last year with a career-worst 4.62 ERA. The atypical performance featured a league-leading 220 hits allowed and an equally as poor 102 earned runs which also happened to top all National League pitchers.
Wainwright has lost twice so far this season and delivered a 7.00 ERA. In his defense, the two starts were difficult ones. Aside from the recent bludgeoning from the Nationals, Wainwright has also faced the defending champion Chicago Cubs.
At 35-years-old, Wainwright is not going to suddenly get any better. He is a fading star whose opportunity to win a Cy Young has passed. It’s rare these days for a two-time 20-game winner who has twice led the league with 19-wins in a season to walk away from his career minus a Cy Young Award. Wainwright will do just that once his cleats finally do hang up.
Wainwright may not have won any individual hardware in his career. However, he was a part of the 2006 World Series team. Oddly, Wainwright was a relief pitcher way back then without a single big league start under his belt. The Cardinals would later win another championship sans Wainwright in 2011.
The best years of Adam Wainwright’s career look officially over. Not completely done yet, the ace qualities he once possessed have departed.