Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright is scheduled to start the 2018 season on the disabled list, club manager Mike Matheny announced Sunday. Wainwright was scratched from his scheduled Grapefruit League start against the Nationals with a left hamstring strain, which appears to be serious enough that he won’t be able to make his first start of the season next weekend.
The 36-year-old right-hander is approaching his final year in a Cardinals uniform. He went 12-5 in 23 starts with a career-worst 5.11 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 7.0 SO/9 through 123 1/3 innings in 2017. Despite his underwhelming performance last season, he looked dominant at the start of camp, allowing just two runs and two walks and striking out 10 batters in 10 2/3 innings of Grapefruit League play.
Without Wainwright, rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty will break camp with the Cardinals and take over the no. 5 spot in the rotation. Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Luke Weaver will handle the first road trip of the year, with Weaver supplanting Wainwright for next Sunday’s matchup against the Mets.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.