Adam Wainwright: To Start or Not to Start?

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IJuly 28, 2008

According to sources at the St. Louis Dispatch, there is speculation that Adam Wainwright might return to his closing role after he comes back from the disabled list.

With the return of Chris Carpenter slated for Wednesday, the rotation certainly should take a huge upswing. However, Mark Mulder was supposed to solidify the rotation and now his career as an effective pitcher might be over.

With Kyle Lohse's recent blowup against the Mets on Sunday with five innings pitched and seven earned runs on 11 hits, Carpenter's return could prove to be a blessing or a curse.

Cardinals nation certainly has to have some concerns about how effective Carpenter will be once he faces major league pitching for the first time in nearly five months. If Carpenter re-injures himself or has several bad outings, La Russa's decision to rush him back could come back to haunt him.

With that being said, what should Adam Wainwright's role be? Should he start or should he return to his closing role as he did in 2006?

Wainwright certainly has proved that he can excel in either role. In 2006, he was money in the bullpen as he took over for Jason Isringhausen down the stretch in the postseason. In 2007 as a starter, he went 14-12 with a 3.70 ERA while pitching over 200 innings and nearly 140 strikeouts.

Just before Wainwright went on the disabled list this year he was among the National League's best pitchers with a 6-3 record and a 3.14 ERA while pitching nearly 100 innings with 62 strikeouts.

Wainwright has shown that he can be effective in either role so the question remains. Should he start or not?