Adam Wainwright inked a five-year, $97.5 million contract extension with the Cardinals last March, just eight months from what would have been his first brush with the free agent market. That deal looks like an absolute bargain for the Cards in the wake of the seven-year, $215 million pact that Clayton Kershaw signed last week with the Dodgers, but Wainwright has no regrets about the particular course he took.
The ace right-hander spoke to fans and reporters Saturday at the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warmup at a downtown St. Louis hotel. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch collected the money quotes:
“Heck no. No. Not at all,” Wainwright said when asked if the $215 million Kershaw deal left him envious. “I’m happy for him. Absolutely not. I was so happy to go into this offseason and not have to worry about being a free agent. I’m right where I want to be. People ask me the same thing about the deal I signed before. Do you have any regrets about signing the deal early? I have no regrets. Once I signed that deal, that was the deal I wanted to sign. I didn’t have to sign it. We worked to get to a number where I felt made it fair for both sides. This is where I wanted to be. Do I think I could have made more money on the free agent market? Absolutely. … But you can’t buy happiness. I’m not going to be happier anywhere else than where I am right now.”
“I have got two rings already,” the 32-year-old Wainwright concluded. “Great memories here. My favorite color is red now. I just feel like I bleed Cardinal red. There is no other color I want to wear.”
Waino had a 2.94 ERA and 219 strikeouts in a league-high 241 2/3 innings last season.
He then made five postseason starts for the National League champions.
For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per MLB.com’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and two walks total.
The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.