Adam Wainwright officially will start the NL Wild Card game for the #STLCards, Mike Shildt says.
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) September 30, 2021
It has been a tremendous season for Wainwright, and he’s getting rewarded by getting the nod in the biggest game of the year for St. Louis.
The Cardinals will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants in the Wild Card Game.
The matchup is set for Wednesday.
Here’s everything you need to know about Wainwright getting the ball.
At The Age Of 40, Wainwright Has Had One Of The Best Years Of His Career
Age is just a number to Wainwright.
The 40-year-old has had one of the best seasons of his career in 2021, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
The three-time All-Star, whose regular season is complete, posted a 3.05 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.06 WHIP, and 3.7 WAR this season.
Since he won’t pitch again until the playoffs, we can safely say this: In 2021, Wainwright posted his best ERA since 2014.
That’s a crazy accomplishment.
Adam Wainwright, Pretty 75mph Curveball. 🌈 pic.twitter.com/hriEOSYnNY
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 29, 2021
Despite being on the wrong side of 40 years old, he will almost certainly attract a major market in free agency after the season ends.
But it’s probably safe to assume that that’s not on anyone’s mind right now.
Very Few Pitchers Have Better Postseason Track Records Than Wainwright
Wainwright is an all-time playoff great.
He got his first taste of the MLB postseason way back in 2006, and it was immediately clear that he was built for the big stage.
Working out of the bullpen, he didn’t allow a single run in those playoffs over 9.2 innings.
The Cardinals went on to win the World Series that year.
— The Birds On The Bat (@BirdsOnTheBat13) March 23, 2016
Since then, Wainwright has maintained his playoff greatness.
Over 28 career postseason outings (15 starts), he has managed a 2.89 ERA, 2.75 FIP, and .655 opponent OPS.
He pitched in the playoffs as recently as 2019 and 2020 and managed a 2.25 ERA over those two postseasons combined.
Clearly, the former first-round pick doesn’t shy away from big moments.
Rather, he excels in them.
He Has Gotten Better As The 2021 Season Has Gone On
As good as Wainwright has been all season, he has been even better lately.
Over his last 10 starts, he has a 2.16 ERA.
Over his last 19 starts, he has a 2.49 ERA.
And over his last 24 starts, he has a 2.59 ERA.
The righty has won six consecutive decisions and 10 of 11.
Overall, the Cardinals are 22-10 when Wainwright pitches this season.
If that’s any indication of what’s going to happen in the NL Wild Card Game, then we may very well see a 100-win team (the Dodgers or Giants) sent home on the first day of the NL postseason.
Be prepared for that possibility.
The Cardinals are searching for their first World Series title since 2011.
While that drought isn’t too long compared to those that some other organizations in baseball are dealing with, fans in St. Louis are itching for another championship.
For Wainwright, this could be his last chance to win another title in a Cardinals uniform.
He could return next year, but as a pending free agent, you never know.
If the Cardinals legend wants to win one more title for the city, this might be his best chance at doing it.