Heading into the Cardinals’ 2021 season, it was believed Jack Flaherty would be the star among the pitching staff, and that he would be the one carrying the load.
But injuries derailed that train until further notice.
Leave it to 40-year old Adam Wainwright, who I like to call the “ageless wonder”, to take the reigns and deliver perhaps his best season in his nearly two-decade career. And because of it, the Cardinals are still in the thick of the National League Wild Card race.
Lost in his phenomenal season is the fact that the Cy Young Award has long evaded his grasp. He’s 24th all-time in Cy Young shares, but tops the list of all pitchers who haven’t won the award.
In fact, no Cardinals pitcher has won the Cy Young Award since Chris Carpenter in 2005. Before that? Bob Gibson in 1968.
So, why could this year be the year?
Let’s take a look…
In 2021, Wainwright has thrown 190 innings, which places him in second in the entire MLB for innings pitched, behind only Zach Wheeler. He leads the National League with 16 wins, and is in the top 10 with an ERA of 2.88. He just came off a spectacular performance against the Mets, a game in which the Cardinals won 7-0.
He ranks 11th in ERA+, 9th in WHIP, and 12th in FIP. Remember…. Wainwright is 40 YEARS OLD!
And while Wainwright is having a career year, one that will surely garner him plenty of Cy Young votes, look for the favorite to be St. Louis local Max Scherzer. He either leads the league or is top five in ERA, WAR, WHIP, ERA+, and FIP. He just reached the 3,000 strikeout mark, a mark in which every pitcher who made it is in the Hall of Fame (except for Roger Clemens, but that’s for another story).
Bottom line is this: whether or not Waino does win the Cy Young this year, his incredible season is the reason the Cardinals still have a shot at the playoffs.