Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright nearly won the National League Cy Young Award last season and he has put his name atop the list of candidates again this year.
Through 20 starts, the 28-year-old right-hander is 14-5 with a 2.02 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 142 1/3 innings. He has four complete games and one shutout, and on Saturday night he was excellent once again.
Wainwright allowed only five hits over six scoreless innings and added three strikeouts to his season-long total as the Cardinals won their third consecutive game over the Dodgers. He also became the first St. Louis pitcher to win his first 10 starts at home since the fine folks at STATS LLC began recording such things in 1920. He has thrown 19 straight scoreless innings.
The success isn’t anything new for Waino, and it’s certainly not catching anybody by surprise. Cardinals fans, though, will be happy to know that he is still working to get better. At the All-Star Game last week, he learned Tim Lincecum’s changeup and used it in his first start of the second half.
“I asked him his changeup grip and he showed it
to me,” Wainwright said Saturday. “I hope this doesn’t get him in trouble but I
threw it in the bullpen during the All-Star game. I kind of worked with it
on the fly during the game today. I probably threw eight or 10 of them.
It’s a work in progress but it’s a certainly a good pitch.”
His ERA at Busch Stadium this year is 1.13 and he’s fired 27 consecutive quality starts at home. Back when Cardinals legend Bob Gibson recorded his famous 1.12 earned-run average in the summer of 1968, his home ERA was 1.41. In some ways this season, Wainwright has been better.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.
Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.
Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.
After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”
As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.