On Wednesday night, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright did something that no other St. Louis pitcher at done in the last 90 years — he threw a complete game shutout in under 90 pitches.
“I didn’t look at my pitch count all day,” Wainwright said after the game. “I knew it was low. I thought for the first time I had a chance at Maddux. But I didn’t think about it. I had a lot of clippings about his mindset and what his mentality was. … THat was something that helped keep my mind in the right place as far as attacking hitters. If you’ve got 70-something pitches in the seventh you’re going to have a chance to go nine. If you’ve got 40-something pitches in the fourth, you’re going to have a chance to go nine.”
It was the fifth time this season that Wainwright has pitched at least eight innings, and the second time this season he has recorded a complete game. The other complete game came back in late April and the Cardinals veteran took the loss despite going the distance.
Wainwright did earn the win on Wednesday, his 11th this season in the Cardinals’ 4-0 win over the Pirates on Wednesday night. He had seven strikeouts over his nine innings pitched and gave up just two hits on the night — the same amount of hits he had at the plate himself.
On Thursday, the Cardinals hope that another one of their veteran starting pitchers, Wade LeBlanc, can pick up where Wainwright finished as the Cardinals look to sweep the Pittsburg Pirates before heading to Kansas City this weekend when staff-ace Jack Flaherty returns from a two-month stint on the injured list.
Pitching Matchup: Wade LeBlanc vs. JT Brubaker
Starting for the Cardinals is a 37-year-old lefty, Wade LeBlanc. The Cardinals signed LeBlanc earlier this season off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles because St. Louis was in need of starting pitcher that could take control of the strike zone, and in his eight starts LeBlanc has done that.
LeBlanc has walked more hitters than St. Louis would have probably liked up to this point but has also been about as expected in terms of his innings and runs against in many of his starts. LeBlanc is coming off of a six-inning start against the Braves that saw him give up two runs and three hits, it was his best start for St. Louis this season.
For the Pirates, it will be JT Brubaker. The second-year righty has 4.95 ERA in his 20 starts this season or the Pirates with 107.1 innings pitched and good strikeout numbers. Brubaker has averages about nine strikeouts per nine innings, just under 2.5 walks per nine innings.
The lefty is coming off of a five-inning start against eh Reds in which he gave up eight earned runs on Aug. 6. That was the third time this season that Brubaker had given up at least six earned runs with the other two coming on July 9 and May 23.
Brubaker has made three starts against St. Louis this season. In all three starts, Brubaker has gone at least five innings and has given up at least three earned runs. His third start was easily his best, though. Brubaker will look to build off that positive momentum against a Cardinals lineup that continues to produce runs on a consistent basis.
Take the Cardinals on the money line (-134) and run line (+122) in today’s game. St. Louis has been a team that can’t seem to build on positive momentum this season but it’s hard to imagine them struggling to get the sweep against a Pirates team that was shut out last night.