Adam Wainwrights 200th win can make Cardinals season unforgettable

Adam Wainwright’s 200th win can make Cardinals’ season unforgettable –

This story is excerpted from John Denton’s Cardinals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.

In St. Louis, where the Cardinals have won the most 11 World Series titles in the National League, some of the most memorable seasons tend to include Clydesdale horses circling Busch Stadium during the World Series, unlikely October heroes showing up, and parades streaming up Market Street in the heart of St. Louis’ downtown.

However, there are always a few exceptions. About 25 years ago, Mark McGwire made fans forget the Cardinals’ 83-79 record forever with a home run duel with Sammy Sosa. And just last year, St. Louis was swept out of the playoffs in two games by the underdog Phillies. But this season will always be remembered for the return of Albert Pujols, his ability to once again squeeze greatness out of this relatively small, two-tone bat and power his way to 703 career home runs.

Their NL record streak of 15 straight season wins ended this year. St. Louis was the heavy favorite to win the NL Central, but became the first team to be eliminated from the division race. Additionally, Monday was the 132nd of a possible 167 days in which the Cards woke up in last place in their division, and they need a strong finish to avoid ending up there for the first time in 33 years.

Could 42-year-old pitcher Adam Wainwright – one of the most accomplished and popular players in franchise history – ease some of the pain by turning his famous curveball enough Monday to secure the 200th win of his career? Could a historic Wainwright victory over the rival Brewers at Busch Stadium serve as a lasting memory heading into 2023? Those closest to the Cardinals right-hander are certainly excited to see him make history once again.

“I can’t wait,” said manager Oliver Marmol, who admitted he handled his bullpen in Sunday’s 6-5 win over the Phillies with Wainwright’s start on Monday in mind, knowing he likely had so many available Arms as possible will be needed to achieve victory, a potential 200th victory. “I hope to have a head start [for Wainwright] and be able to complete it.”

Wainwright, who announced 2023 will be his final season, set the stage for Monday’s potentially historic start by finally ending an 11-start winning streak last Tuesday in Baltimore. When fans began the season wishing him well in his quest for 200 wins, Wainwright scoffed and thought, “If I only win five games, that’s a lousy season.” Surely I can do better,” he recently recalled . As it turned out, many of Wainwright’s problems this season were similar to those of the Cardinals.

Honoring his legacy would mean everything to Wainwright’s teammates, reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt openly admitted.

“Every time he takes the mound, as a teammate you want to make sure his game is at the same level,” Goldschmidt said. “It was always like that when Yadi [Molina] was captivating. You don’t want to do anything to let these guys down. I think this attitude speaks to Waino’s competitiveness. No matter if he was struggling or having bad games, he still finds a way to get another out or go an extra inning. Knowing what kind of teammate he is, how hard he competes, and how he prepares, you always want to make sure your game is on the same level as his.

“There are many ways to lead, but the way he does it may be the most effective,” Goldschmidt added. “Without saying anything, without even talking, he always had a way of improving the game of the people around him.”