Another tough break before Spring Training games even start. The team failed to lock in Albert Puljos who will hit the free agent market at the end of 2011; and just yesterday utility infielder Nick Punto will have surgery for a sports hernia with an expected two to three months.
Cardinal’s fans appear to be in for a ruff ride in 2011.
Pitching is one half of what makes St. Louis successful, specifically the pitching dominance of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, who 2-3 respectively in 2009 National League CY Young voting. In 2010, Wainwright again missed the CY Young again coming in second to winner Roy Halladay.
Last season, Wainwright posted a 20-11 record, with a 2.42 ERA, striking out 213, with five complete games and two shutouts in just over 230 innings pitched.
This leaves the Cardinals with two options, either go get another pitcher or trade the healthier half of the duo Chris Carpenter.
Here is the problem, even with Carpenter posting a 16-9 record, a 3.22 ERA over 235 innings in 2010, his will be 36-years-old come April and that is not ideal trade for another team in the long-term. Plus it also leaves the Cardinals without a true ace, and Carpenter is also an experienced leader.
The other and more likely outcome will be to depend on pitching coach Dave Duncan to do what he does best and transform some older promising prospects, like Lance Lynn and Ian Snell into formidable starters. If anyone can accomplish this feat it is Duncan, as he is deemed as a connoisseur in terms of pitching coaches.
Wainwright is 29 years old, and clearly has been effective and dominant as the team’s ace.
It is bad news, no doubt about it the Cardinals and their fans are singing the St. Louis Blues.
- Cardinals’ ace Wainwright injures elbow (theglobeandmail.com)
- Spring training 2011: St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright injures throwing elbow (sports.espn.go.com)
- Wainwright, Wilbon & Rivalries (bullpenbrian.com)
- Adam Wainwright Has Elbow Injury: What It Could All Mean (bleacherreport.com)
- Adam Wainwright Elbow Injury: Cardinals Ace Might Miss Season (huffingtonpost.com)