Friday, October 19, 2012
This time, Wainwright holds all the Cards
By Mark Simon & Andrew Davis
St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright had the right stuff in Thursday’s Game 4 win over the San Francisco Giants.
This was a much different outcome for Wainwright than his last start, when he got pummeled by the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS.
Wainwright became the first Cardinals starter to throw at least seven innings and allow one run or fewer in an LCS game since Jeff Suppan in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS against the Mets.
The Cardinals win that day put them in the World Series. Wainwright’s gem brought them within one win of a trip to the Fall Classic.
It took Wainwright 153 pitches to throw eight innings in two starts against the Nationals.
He completed seven innings against the Giants in just 96 pitches. Let’s take a closer look at his performance.
Cutting the Giants Up
Wainwright threw 28 cutters, one shy of the most he threw in any start this season. They netted five outs and yielded no baserunners.
His last out with the cutter was perhaps his biggest of the game, a Buster Posey lineout to right with the Giants threatening to slice into a 4-1 lead with two on and one out in the sixth inning.
A nasty hook
Wainwright’s curveball was in vintage form. He threw it a season-high 34 times and netted nine outs with it. Seven of those outs came against left-handed hitters who saw 21 curveballs, 18 of which went for strikes.
The Giants hitters swung at 17 of them and managed no hits. They also took nine of 17 for strikes.
Wainwright’s 53 percent success rate at getting called strikes with his curve was the second-highest of the season. His season numbers were such that he’d typically expect five or six strikes on 17 takes.
That pitch played a big role in finishing that previously-mentioned sixth inning jam. He got Pablo Sandoval to chase a curve below the knees with runners on the corners and two outs to end the sixth inning.
Finish what he started
Wainwright got to a two-strike count on 15 hitters and was 15-for-15 in getting them out.
It was his best showing with two strikes since a start against the Brewers in June, 2010.