Exit Interview: Adam Wainwright

Last year, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season.  This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2013 offseason.  More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter.  Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.

This year’s Exit Interview series is brought to you by Bonfyre.  A large number of the United Cardinal Bloggers used Bonfyre all season long and found it a great way to interact and discuss things in a limited audience.  No need to worry about some pseudo-fan crashing your Facebook conversation or trying to explain fine points in 140 characters on Twitter. Invite who you want to the group and get to talking.  Share pictures as well–Bonfyre is a great way to document parties or other events, especially for folks that can’t be there.  Sign up today and give it a try.

Name: Adam Wainwright

Season stats: 19-9, 2.94 ERA, 34 games, 241.2 IP, 223 H, 35 BB, 219 K, 1.07 WHIP

Hero/Goat: Hero 8, Goat 3

Overall grade: A

Positives: When you wind up runner-up in the Cy Young voting, I’d say it was a pretty good year.  Doing that just two seasons removed from Tommy John surgery just adds to the impressiveness.  Wainwright came out determined not to walk batters this season, not walking any in his first four starts and averaging just one free pass per start.  He took a no-hitter into the eighth against the Rockies, had three different double-digit strikeout games, and basically was everything you’d want out of an ace, including locking down the NLDS with a complete game against the Pirates.

Negatives: Besides the back-to-back clunkers against the Reds late in the year, the only real blemish on Wainwright’s season came in October.  He gave up five runs (three earned) in Game 1 of the World Series, which was highlighted by an embarrassing popup that fell between him and Yadier Molina.  Given a chance for redemption in Game 5, he pitched better, but still gave up three runs in seven innings and was unable to get the victory.  He also lost his only start in the NLCS against the Dodgers, though that was really not his fault (two runs in seven innings).

Outlook: With Chris Carpenter retired and unlikely to be around the club much anymore, the leadership mantle seems to fall to Wainwright, at least from the pitching perspective.  Thankfully, Waino is able to live up to that not only on the mound, but in the clubhouse as well.  He has his intensity, but he leavens it with a looseness that’s unmatched.  The Cards are lucky to have him locked up for as long as they do.

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