More than a year after the St. Louis Cardinals realized, early last spring training, that they’d be without their ace for 2011, Adam Wainwright is set to make his return to the rotation. He’ll start and take two innings Friday at 12:05 against the Minnesota Twins; it’ll be his first in-game action since his 20-win season of 2010.
A lot has happened since then: among other things, the Cardinals played a bunch of baseball games and then won the World Series. That makes Wainwright one of the Cardinals’ best chances to improve on last season—more than their free agent acquisitions, Wainwright is really the player who can push them past the loss of Albert Pujols.
Without him, last season, the Cardinals gave Kyle McClellan 17 starts, Edwin Jackson 12, Lance Lynn two, and—you’d be forgiven for this one, coming as it did when the Cardinals were Basically Eliminated from Playoff Contention Anyway—Brandon Dickson one, on September 1. I’ve got no problem with any of those pitchers, except Jackson when he attempts to see just how slowly it’s possible to pitch, but it’ll be good to have Adam Wainwright back.