St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is getting one more chance to steer his farewell season back on track.
In his past two starts, Wainwright (3-7, 8.78 ERA) retired just 12 batters while allowing 15 runs on 18 hits. The Cardinals will start him Thursday against the visiting New York Mets in the opener of a four-game series.
However, this is the last opportunity team management is promising him.
“We sat down, we talked through it, like: ‘Listen, we’re going to take your next start and I’m looking forward to seeing it. And then we’re going to sit down after and re-evaluate how it went and go from there,'” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.
“Hopefully, it goes well and we can keep going. If it doesn’t, we’ll sit down and we’ll have another honest conversation as to what does this really look like moving forward and what’s best?”
Wainwright has been stuck on 198 career victories since June 17, when he earned a 5-3 victory over the Mets in New York. He met the quality-start metric in the game while allowing three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
He has been eager to reach the 200-victory plateau before retiring after this season, but Wainwright has been plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness.
The 41-year-old right-hander allowed eight runs on nine hits in one-plus inning during his last start, a 12-8 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday.
“I’m going to have to refocus and get real serious about ending strong because I don’t want to go out like that,” Wainwright said. “That’s just embarrassing. Nobody wants to see me do that. I know a lot of people are rooting really hard for me. I know a lot of people are really sad with how things are going, and I get it. Trust me, you’re not more sad than me.
“But I’m also very confident that I’m going to end strong.”
He is 8-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 17 career appearances against the Mets, including 15 starts.
The Mets have won three of their past four games heading into the series. They are coming off an 8-3 home victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
New York right fielder DJ Stewart snapped out of a 0-for-14 slump by going 2-for-2 with a homer off the bench on Tuesday, and then he went deep twice more on Wednesday. He is trying to make the most of his latest stint in the majors.
“I love this game and I had injury issues,” Stewart said. “I know what I’m capable of doing whenever I’m healthy.
“What kept me going was getting back to the big leagues. This game is unbelievable. I don’t take it for granted playing at the big-league level. I have a little girl. Diapers are not cheap. That’s what keeps me going.”
The Mets will counter Wainwright with former Cardinals hurler Jose Quintana (0-4, 3.03 ERA), who will make his sixth start since recovering from rib surgery. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of five starts this season.
Quintana is 5-4 with a 4.42 ERA in 12 career starts against the Cardinals.
The Mets made roster moves with their pitching staff on Wednesday, promoting Dennis Santana from Triple-A Syracuse and sending Jose Butto back to that club.
For the Cardinals, catcher Willson Contreras (sore right hip) and infielder Nolan Gorman (lower back stiffness) sat out again Wednesday. They remain questionable for Thursday.
St. Louis center fielder Lars Nootbaar (lower abdominal contusion) and infielder/outfielder Tommy Edman (right calf contusion) were injured Wednesday on foul balls at the plate.
The Cardinals fell 8-0 to the visiting Oakland A’s on Wednesday as St. Louis came up short in a bid for a three-game series sweep. St. Louis has still won five of its past seven games.
—Field Level Media
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