Wainwright, who is still getting back to form following Tommy John surgery in 2011, has seen more success in his last four outings than all season.
His sinker sinks again. His curve moves again. That wasn't the case earlier in the season.
Wainwright's road back has been a rocky one. So far in 2012 he has bounced back and forth between good starts and, well, not so good ones. We've seen glimmers of hope and moments of the old Wainwright, but his last few outings have shown more than a glimmer.
It has been the culmination of 15 months of rehab and hard work to re-discover himself as a pitcher.
Tonight, he will face off against Jose Quintana, the rookie pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. Quintana is 1-1 on the season and has posted a 2.05 ERA in his first five big-league starts. He has given up only 15 hits to date which could be a problem for the Cardinals stymied offense.
In his last four starts, Wainwright is 3-1 and has pitched 27 innings. He's given up a total of 11 runs, but seven of those came against the New York Mets. He's also posted 25 strikeouts and surrendered only five walks. Over the last 10 games, he has an ERA of 4.08.
His season numbers are somewhat inflated at the moment, mainly due to his April struggles. Assuming he continues to go the direction he has been headed of late, they will correct themselves.
While it's likely he won't look great in every outing, a few simple successes are exactly what he needed. He and the world have been reminded of just how dangerous he can be when he is in the zone.
One thing is for sure, a pitcher with his drive and that amount of natural-born talent won't go down without a fight. It will likely be July before the dominant pitcher who won 19 games in 2009 and 20 in 2010 is here to stay.
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