Adam Wainwright has missed the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery and will enter 2012 as a major question mark, which put the Cardinals in a tough position regarding his 2012 and 2013 options.
As part of Wainwright’s contract the Cardinals must decide by the end of this season whether to exercise both future options at a total cost of $21 million, but yesterday general manager John Mozeliak told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that they’ve already decided to pick up the options.
Mozeliak explained that the team is pleased with Wainwright’s rehab status so far and even if he ends up missing part of 2012 or needs half the season to work himself back into form $21 million for two years is certainly well below market value for an elite starter.
Wainwright insists that he’ll be 100 percent health by spring training and hinted that he might have been a postseason possibility for the Cardinals if they hadn’t fallen out of contention, but when it comes to Tommy John surgery and the 12-18 month recovery timetable there’s never a sure thing. St. Louis is taking a $21 million risk, but a healthy Wainwright is so good that it certainly makes sense.
One team has punched its ticket to the Fall Classic. Two teams are looking to join them, with the Dodgers carrying the distinct advantage. Los Angeles needs only a split in the final two games of the NLCS while Milwaukee needing to win both games at home. Doable? Absolutely. But to do it, the Brewers are going to have to wake up their sleepy bats.
NLCS Game 6
Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley
The Dodgers will give the ball to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but allowed two runs and tossed 72 pitches, failing to get out of the fifth inning, in Game 2 against Milwaukee. Even if he again turns in a short outing Dave Roberts should feel pretty confident, however, as the Dodgers’ bullpen — considered a question mark coming into this series — has allowed only three runs in in 21 and two-thirds innings of work.
For Milwaukee it’s once again Wade Miley, who was the Game 5 “starter,” but who pitched to only one batter. I suppose it’s possible that Craig Counsell will burn him like that again, but it seems more likely that Miley will actually pitch in this game rather than be used as a decoy.
As I noted the other day, though, the Brewers’ pitching gamesmanship has not really been a factor in this series. The real problem for them has been their offense. They’ve scored only 16 runs in five games while batting .219. That’s actually identical to the Dodgers’ run total and average overall, but L.A. has been better at distributing that meager offense. Milwaukee has been cold at the worst times, too, going 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position in the series, including one for their last 11. If that doesn’t change, their season ends tonight.