Adam Wainwright insists his elbow is fine

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Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright struggled in Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night against the Giants, allowing three runs — two earned — on six hits and three walks while failing to make it out of the top of the fifth. He has now surrendered nine runs — eight earned — on 17 hits in nine innings this postseason, and it’s quite obvious that the heavily-used 33-year-old right-hander is not close to 100 percent health.

Cards manager Mike Matheny acknowledged after Wainwright’s rough NLDS Game 1 outing against the Dodgers that Wainwright had been experiencing some discomfort near the back of his right elbow, but Saturday’s ineffectiveness against the Giants was blamed on a mechanical issue.

More from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

After Saturday’s game, he retired to the video room with catcher A.J. Pierzynski to find that his hand position was off and his stride was late, causing his arm to drag behind. His fastball meandered as a result.

“I would have got a lot more out of what I could have got if I was in a better position to throw the ball,” Wainwright said. “Just everything was out of whack, out of timing.”

Wainwright did not throw any between-start bullpen sessions in September in order to save his bullets for October, but he told Goold that his arm “is in a position (health-wise) that I can and should throw” one before he takes the bump again in this best-of-seven National League Championship Series. That would be Game 5.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.