Adam Wainwright’s ERA actually went down this afternoon, but he continues to struggle in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Wainwright allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings in a 6-3 loss to the Reds. While he struck out five and walked just one, he also allowed two homers and averaged just under 90 mph on his fastball (thanks to Brooks Baseball for the data).
Wainwright is now 0-3 over his first three starts and has a 9.88 ERA and 14/4 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 innings. He has already served up five homers after giving up an average of 14 per season from 2007-2010.
While it’s not unusual for pitchers to struggle with their command following Tommy John surgery, giving up free passes and/or leaving pitches up or in the middle of the strike zone, it’s a bit troubling that Wainwright’s velocity has seemingly declined from his solid showing during spring training. The Cardinals are off to a fast start at 9-4, so this is hardly panic time, but three of their losses have come in Wainwright’s outings.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.
It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.
Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.