Let me start by saying I know the St. Louis Cardinals just completed a rough road trip. After winning 13 consecutive series — 16 if you include the 2011 postseason — going 3-3 hurts. Emotions are high.
It particularly hurts when two of those losses are to the Cubs. Tuesday night’s loss was the worst of the season for a variety of reasons. Winning yesterday helped everyone’s collective mood a bit, but there’s still one thing repeatedly being mentioned about the second game bugging me.
And that’s the continual complaint (to put it nicely) over Adam Wainwright receiving no run support this season.
Granted, it’s true. The Cardinals have not scored any runs at all during the time Adam Wainwright’s been in a game this season.
But maybe there’s a reason why the Cardinals have not scored any runs in those particular times.
The opposing pitchers.
We’ve all heard the phrase “good pitching will stop good hitting,” right? So take a look at how the three starters have done while Wainwright was in the game.
April 7 — Zack Greinke: 7 innings pitched, 4 hits (all singles), 1 GIDP, 7 strikeouts, 0 walks. The Cards were shut out 6-0.
April 13 — Jeff Samardzija: This outing might be an exception as far as “good” goes, but the fact is the Cards scored no runs during the three innings Wainwright pitched. During that time, Samardzija allowed 4 singles, struck out 3 and walked 1. (Then, in the fifth, he allowed 5 runs on 6 hits but the Cubs had already scored 9 — 8 off Wainwright, 1 off Victor Marte.) And 9-5 was the final score.
April 19 — Bronson Arroyo: 8 innings pitched, 5 hits, 5 strikeouts, 0 walks. He gave up a 3-run homer to Matt Holliday in the sixth, while Wainwright pitched 5 innings. The Reds won 6-3.
April 24 — Samardzija: 6 2/3 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 GIDP, 9 strikeouts, 2 walks. Wainwright had his best outing of the season, allowing only 1 run by sac fly in 6 innings on 6 hits with 7 strikeouts and 1 walk. The Cubs won, as we know, 3-2.
Tough luck for Wainwright? Absolutely. But, as trite as it is, bad luck is part of baseball. Also trite is that baseball is a team sport. Pitchers who make good starts, with run support, can end up with nothing to show for it in the win column just like Wainwright. Jaime Garcia can certainly attest to that.
To complete a trio of trite expressions, a baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint. There are highs and lows for every team; there are highs and lows for every player. Adam Wainwright will have runs scored when he’s in a game, and he will win games this season. You can bet on it.
But when he — or any particular starter — doesn’t, it’s helpful to look at the big picture of the game. It’s not like the Cardinals aren’t scoring runs for a guy on purpose.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.