Adam Wainwright gave up a three-run homer to Ian Stewart in the first and a grand slam to Bryan LaHair in the third Friday as the Cardinals lost 9-5 to the Cubs in their home opener.
Wainwright was taken out after allowing eight runs in three innings. He fell to 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA on the young season.
In Wainwright’s defense, LaHair’s slam was wind-aided and still barely cleared the fence in left-center. A better left fielder than Matt Holliday might have been able to go up and take it away.
Still, Wainwright wasn’t impressive at all. His velocity actually appears to have regressed since the beginning of the spring, and he walked a pair of batters leading up to LaHair’s slam.
Fortunately, all of the Cardinals’ other starters have looked impressive thus far, and they should be able to hang in the NL Central race even with Chris Carpenter out indefinitely and Wainwright struggling out of the gate. They’re currently 5-1 in games not started by Wainwright.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters today that Andrew McCutchen will not be ready to play to start the season. McCutchen is still recovering from the ACL tear he suffered last year. Girardi said that McCutchen hasn’t suffered a setback, but is simply not on a timetable that would allow him to play on Opening Day.
Obviously, this is a bit of a blow for the Phillies. McCutchen isn’t the MVP-level player he once ways, but he’s still a difference-maker and can be a spark plug for an offense. He was off to a .256/.378/.457 start in his 262 plate appearances before the injury struck. His continued stint on the injured list opens up everyday at-bats for Jay Bruce, whom the Phillies traded for during the 2019 season to help fill the hole caused by McCutchen’s injury. Bruce moving up the depth chart opens up a roster spot for someone like Neil Walker, Nick Martini or Kyle Garlick to make the team.
Girardi said that the Phillies expect McCutchen back at some point in April, so he hopefully won’t be on the shelf too much longer. Still, it stinks that we’re going to have wait longer for one of the more fun players in baseball to suit up again.