While much is being made about 2010 being the year of the pitcher, Adam Wainwright is quietly putting together quite a season, showing why he has become the ace of the Cardinals pitching staff. Well, maybe not so quietly as we have just learned that Wainwright will join fellow ace, Chris Carpenter, as one of the National League pitchers in the All Star Game in Anaheim, Ca.
As the team was congratulating the tall right hander on his 12th victory and fourth complete game of the season, one of my twitter friends, Mike Turner, asked how Wainwright’s complete game total compared to other pitchers since John Tudor’s amazing 1985 campaign. It was a great question.
A quick look through the team statistics at baseball-reference.com and we have our answer. Since 1985, here are the team leaders in complete games.
* results from the first half of the season
To answer Mike’s question, Adam Wainwright is indeed on pace to be among the leaders. He is nearly half of the way to Joe Magrane’s total of 9 complete games in 1989. Wainwright is also closing in on Chris Carpenter’s total of 7 in 2005, the most during the Tony LaRussa era.
As I compiled the list, a number of things jumped out at me – some of them obvious and a few not quite so much.
- What an amazing rotation the 1985 Cardinals had with Joaquin Andujar, John Tudor and Danny Cox.
- The art of the complete game has nearly vanished from baseball. This is even more evident in the Tony La Russa era. When I started watching baseball, the starters were expected to finish what they started and the bullpen was made up of either kids learning how to pitch or veterans finishing their careers.
- A LOOGY should not be a career choice.
- It continues to amaze me how the name Darryl Kile still brings up such sadness. It has been 8 years and just typing his name brings back all those memories of his sudden passing in 2002.
- The Cardinals were a sad and pathetic team in the era between Whitey Herzog and Tony La Russa – but we kept watching, rooting, hoping. And drinking.
- It is unbelievable how quickly Tony La Russa turned the team into a perennial winner.
- Danny Jackson once led the team in complete games – are you kidding me ????? Yes, he was a big time starter earlier in his career, but not when he wore Cardinal Red.
- And the corollary – how sad is your pitching staff when Darren Oliver leads your team in complete games ? Oh, pardon me – he tied with the 5-14 Jose Jimenez who also had 2 – and one of his was a no-hitter.
- How badly did we miss Chris Carpenter in 2007 and 2008 ? And how much of a pitching stud Carpenter is when healthy.
Cardinals fans have surely had their share of disappointments in the first half of 2010. The pitching performance of Adam Wainwright is not one of them. Nor that of Chris Carpenter, the rookie phenomenon named Jaime Garcia nor most of the bullpen. I am certainly looking forward to the second half of the season.