St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, left, celebrates with Adam Wainwright after Wainwright pitched nine complete innings against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)
As far as stoppers go, few have more experience than Adam Wainwright.
The longtime starter and the Cardinals’ go-to fixer in 2020 regardless of the bind the pitching or team was in, Wainwright opens the series finale with Cleveland needing to provide innings for a spent bullpen, bring calm to a turbulent rotation, and halt a six-game losing streak. Oh, and if that’s not enough, the Cardinals are trying to avoid a wasted home stand.
They have lost all five games of their return to Busch Stadium from the West Coast and must win Wednesday night or head to Wrigley Field with all the baggage of a 0-6 home stand clanking behind them.
Yadier Molina returns from a bruised knee to join Wainwright and reunite with this generation’s longest paired pitcher-catcher partnership.
At issue for the Cardinals has been pitching.
And also pitching.
The Cardinals mustered a single run against Cleveland starter Shane Bieber on Tuesday and squandered a seven-run rally in one inning against Cincinnati on Sunday. Their offense has been inconsistent or isolated, and its ineffectiveness at times has been highlighted by the crux of the Cardinals’ concerns at this point in the season: Their severely reduced pitching depth.