The St. Louis Cardinals haven’t had a lot of positive news of late. A rash of injuries, sub-par pitching, and a spotty offense has caused the longest losing streak for the team since June 2017. Adam Wainwright took the mound against the visiting Cleveland Indians as the likeliest member of the Cardinals rotation to snap the six-game losing streak.
Perfect Pitcher for the Assignment
Going into Wednesday’s start, Wainwright had completed the seventh inning in nearly half of his starts, and the team was desperate to have a starter go deep into a game. This year, he has been the team’s most consistently effective starter not named Jack Flaherty. Wainwright has been hot at home lately. To add to the magic, he was the starter to snap the Cardinals’ longest losing streak of 2020 when he dealt the Indians a 7-2 loss in August.
Wainwright promptly gave up a double and a single to the first two batters he faced. Eddie Rosario would then hit a one-out double to drive in a run. Wainwright gave up a sacrifice fly to Harold Ramirez and escaped the inning with no further damage. The sacrifice fly was the first of 12 consecutive batters Wainwright retired. After hitting Bradley Zimmer in the fifth inning, Wainwright set down the next seven batters he faced in order. He completed seven innings, giving up only three hits and no walks. The bullpen held as they retired the next six batters.
Cardinals Offense Explodes to Snap Losing Streak
While Wainwright was the predictable hero on the mound, Matt Carpenter’s work at the plate didn’t seem as likely. In the bottom half of the first, Carpenter plated three with a bases-clearing double. This would give the Cardinals a lead that the pitching staff would not relinquish. Carpenter has been relegated to a bench role for much of the year as he simply has not been productive. However, he has been heating up a bit of late. He’s batting .357 with a .971 OPS over the last five games.
The offense would eventually erupt. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run, but the real star at the plate was Tyler O’Neill. He hit two home runs with three RBI while scoring three as well. O’Neill now has 15 long balls on the season, which is good for fourth in the National League. He is cementing his place in the All-Star conversation and has been one of the Cardinals’ most productive hitters when healthy. The Cardinals were desperate for a win as they needed some positive momentum going into a three-game series this weekend against the first place Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Embed from Getty Images