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Adam Wainwright is looking like his old, pre-surgery self

Jul 5, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

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Adam Wainwright‘s comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery got off to a rough start, as he allowed 15 runs in his first 14 innings after missing all of last season.

Those early struggles have kept Wainwright’s overall numbers looking mediocre, but a closer look reveals that he’s been pretty close to his usual, top-of-the-rotation self for a while now.

Wainwright has a 3.74 ERA and 84/25 K/BB ratio in 89 innings since that rough three-start stretch to begin the season, allowing just five homers in 14 starts. And since tossing a complete-game shutout on May 22 he’s thrown 59 innings with a 3.66 ERA and fantastic 58/13 K/BB ratio.

His batting average on balls in play hasn’t been very good and that in turn has inflated his ERA a bit, but based on Wainwright’s secondary numbers and velocity he’s basically all the way back. His average fastball has clocked in at 90.3 miles per hour over the past 60 days, compared to his pre-surgery career mark of 90.7 mph, and his Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) of 3.09 overall this season is nearly identical to his 3.02 mark in 2010 and slightly better than his 3.32 mark in 2009.

It remains to be seen how well Wainwright can hold up physically as his workload approaches 200 innings, but if he doesn’t wear down don’t be surprised if he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball during the second half.

  1. stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Is curveball doesn’t seem to have the sharp (fall off the table) 12-6 break it used to.
    His location (despite what is K/BB ratio indicates) still needs some work.
    But he is certainly looking better over the course of the last 1 – 1/2 Months.
    With Carp being out all year…the pitching staff desperately needs him to return to pre-surgery form.

    • ajcardsfan - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      Yeah, I was at yesterday’s games almost directly across the plate in center field on the Coke Deck. I was watching the pitches through binoculars, and it does seem he does still have a little control issue left to work out. It seems like all good contact that was made on his pitches yesterday were on pitches that just seemed to dangle over the middle of the plate, couldn’t tell if they were meant to be curves or fastballs, but the batters weren’t forgiving in either case.

  2. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    He’s close, but watching him he doesn’t seem 100% back yet. If he reaches that on the second half of the season, the Cards should be able to make a really good stretch at the NL Central or one of the Wild Cards.

  3. chumthumper - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Oh, please let him come back whole. I’m having a hard time dealing with the decimation of the Cards and all their injuries.

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