Adam Wainwright Makes Final Season Debut for Cardinals, Provides Boost to Rotation

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright made his 2023 season debut on May 6th against the Detroit Tigers at Busch Stadium.[0] This will be his final season debut as he is set to retire following the ’23 campaign. Wainwright started his 19th and final major league season, allowing four runs and eight hits over five-plus innings, striking out five and walking none.[1] At the beginning of the season, he was placed on the injured roster due to a groin injury.[2]

Although Wainwright is not the youngest player on the team, he has proven to be a dependable starting player for the Cardinals over the last couple of years, with 64 starts under his belt and an impressive 3.37 ERA.[3] With his comeback, the Cardinals can aim to steady their rotation and make a comeback in the NL Central race, following a discouraging start of 10-23. With the exception of Jordan Montgomery, the Cardinals rotation has faced significant difficulties at the start of the season, making the return of Wainwright a major advantage.[3] The Cardinals' starting pitchers have a 5.39 ERA, which is ranked 24th in the majors. Montgomery's 3.29 ERA has been the only saving grace as the performances of Steven Matz, Miles Mikolas, and Jack Flaherty have been disappointing.[3]

Despite giving up a three-run homer in the second inning that impacted his overall performance, Wainwright displayed significant improvement in his third rehabilitation game. Previously, he had only managed to strike out four batters in a combined 7.1 innings during his first two starts at Double-A Springfield.[4] At the end of the day, he had pitched 89 times, accurately hitting 61 of them as strikes.[4] Wainwright has successfully completed a rehab start and is now fully prepared to make his season debut with the Cardinals in the upcoming weekend series against the Tigers, following his recovery from a 15-day injury.[4]

Due to muscle and mechanical imbalances, Wainwright struggled in the latter part of the previous season. His velocity continued to decline during spring training and while playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.[5] Prior to his Saturday start, he had an inconsistent performance during a minor-league rehab assignment that spanned three starts.[5] With improved health, Wainwright's extensive range of skills could offer the Cardinals the essential stability they require in their rotation.[5] Prior to Wainwright's initial start, St. Louis held the 24th position in MLB standings with a rotation ERA of 5.39.[5]

In 2022, Wainwright delivered a 3.71 ERA and played a pivotal role in the Cardinals' triumph in the NL Central.[6] With his entire career in St. Louis, the right-handed player is optimistic about making it to the playoffs for the last time in 2023.[6] Although he suffered a preseason injury, his season was postponed.[6] Assuming there are no setbacks, he is expected to pitch against Detroit on Saturday.[6] Given their struggles to start the year, the Cardinals will find his return to be significant.

Despite giving up four runs on eight hits in five innings, Wainwright did not receive a decision as the Cardinals suffered their eighth consecutive defeat. He was sailing smoothly until the fifth inning, when the Tigers scored three runs off of him.[7] After St. Louis took an early 3-0 lead, Detroit managed to even the score at three.[7] The Cardinals removed Wainwright from the game after he allowed consecutive hits at the start of the sixth inning. Even though he couldn't manage to get a single out in the inning, Wainwright departed the game on Saturday with an opportunity to secure a victory.[7]

After the Cardinals' eighth consecutive loss to the Tigers in a 6-5 defeat that went into extra innings, Wainwright expressed confusion over what happened in the fifth inning. Despite feeling in control and commanding the ball and counts, he was unable to maintain his dominance throughout the game. I have a sense of pitching a scoreless game, but I ended up conceding four runs and I am baffled as to why.[7] Man, the fifth inning was full of wild and unpredictable events.[8]

Wainwright expressed his confusion regarding the events of the fifth inning, stating that he simply couldn't comprehend what had occurred. “I mean, I feel like I pitched a scoreless game, and I gave up four runs, and I don’t know why.”

In the fifth inning, Wainwright surrendered a bloop single to score Akil Baddoo, Eric Haase scored on a pop-up that traveled just 223 feet and Riley Greene punched a ball the opposite way to knot the game at 3.[8] Wainwright had a strong start, allowing only one hit in the first four innings. However, in the fifth inning, he encountered difficulties and ended up allowing the tying runs to cross the plate.[5]

In his career with the Cardinals, Wainwright has recorded a 195-117 record with a 3.38 ERA in 457 games, 390 of which were starts.[9] The three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove recipient previously announced that the 2023 season will be his last.[9]

0. “Cardinals' Adam Wainwright to make 2023 debut Saturday” Sportsnaut, 2 May. 2023,

1. “Adam Wainwright allows 4 runs over 5 innings in season debut” FOX Sports, 6 May. 2023,

2. “MLB roundup: Wainwright returns, but Cardinals losing streak reached 8” Press Herald, 6 May. 2023,

3. “Cardinals Activate Adam Wainwright, Select Tres Barrera, DFA Taylor Motter” MLB Trade Rumors, 6 May. 2023,

4. “Cardinals' Adam Wainwright: Looks sharp in latest rehab start” CBS Sports, 1 May. 2023,

5. “Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright goes five innings in first 2023 start as St. Louis looks to steady ship” CBS Sports, 6 May. 2023,

6. “Cardinals: Adam Wainwright expected to make 2023 debut Saturday vs. Tigers” ClutchPoints, 2 May. 2023,

7. “Three-time All-Star pitcher sends brutal message after terrible loss” msnNOW, 7 May. 2023,

8. “Adam Wainwright makes season debut after groin injury”, 7 May. 2023,

9. “Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright activated to start vs. Tigers” Deadspin, 6 May. 2023,

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