The 2022 season did not end well for the St. Louis Cardinals, especially pitcher Adam Wainwright.
The Cardinals' postseason run lasted just two games as they were swept in the NL Wild Card Series by the Philadelphia Phillies. Wainwright could only watch, as he did not appear in either of the two losses.
Perhaps Wainwright would have pitched if his performance hadn't slipped during September. Now that the season is over, the 41-year-old has an explanation for the sudden drop-off.
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Wainwright's reasoning makes sense, as he clearly wasn't the same pitcher after getting hit. He posted a 3.09 ERA through the end of August before allowing at least 4 earned runs in 5 of his last 6 starts, posting an ugly 7.22 ERA over the final month of the season.
At the time, many chalked up Wainwright's decline to his age and fatigue. After all, he's still pitching at a point when many of his peers have long since retired, and it's not uncommon for pitchers to struggle late in the season as their velocity and stamina wane.
According to Wainwright, though, it appears his injury caused him to alter his mechanics. As fans know, even the slightest tweak can have a significant effect on an athlete's performance. Wainwright didn't explain why the shift took so long to notice, however, as he or a pitching coach should have caught it during video review.
Regardless, it's unlikely that a fully healthy and effective Wainwright would have done much to sway the series against Philadelphia. St. Louis' bats went cold, managing just 3 runs in the series. Wainwright can do a lot of things to help his team win, but hitting isn't one of them.