Adam Wainwright was supposed to be done a few years ago, wasn’t he?
Wainwright continued his renaissance season Wednesday in Milwaukee, tossing a complete game (granted, it was seven innings) in the first game of a doubleheader. He held the Brewers to just two runs on four hits and a walk while tying a season high with nine strikeouts.
The game didn’t start off the way “Waino” wanted, as Keston Hiura followed Christian Yelich’s one-out single with a bomb over the left field wall. Cardinals fans might have had a “here we go again” feeling since it was a day after the Brew Crew walloped them for 18 runs.
Wainwright had other ideas, though.
After Hiura’s home run, the 39-year-old right-hander proceeded to allow just two hits, one walk and no runs over the next 23 batters he faced. He needed 102 pitches to finish out the shortened complete game.
Wainwright now has two complete games over his last four starts, with the first one being of the nine-inning variety on August 30 against the Indians on his 39th birthday (he threw 122 pitches in that outing). With Wednesday’s gem, he lowered his ERA to 2.87. At no point this season has Wainwright’s ERA been at 3.00 or above.
Wainwright’s strikeout rate remains underwhelming, although he’s picked it up of late over the aforementioned last four starts, fanning 28 over 28 1/3 innings. He’s also cut way down on his walks this season, sporting a 2.0 BB/9 rate that would be easily his lowest in five years.
The veteran righty has been getting away from his fastball more and more as his velocity declines and is leaning even more heavily on his signature curveball. Waino entered Wednesday having thrown the curve 36.6 percent of the time, which is the highest mark in baseball for the pitch. He threw it 42 percent of the time against the Brewers. Per Fangraphs, only Shane Bieber has had a more valuable curveball this season.
Wainwright has a favorable matchup versus the Royals the next time out to see if he can keep up his magical season.
Brady Bunches Zeros
Just over a week ago, it would have been fair to call Brady Singer’s rookie season a bit of a disappointment. He’s doing his best to change that narrative in a hurry.
Less than a week after taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning, Singer was brilliant again on Wednesday in Detroit. The young right-hander limited the Tigers to just two hits – both singles – while walking one batter and striking out eight over six superb innings.
Singer needed just 81 pitches to cruise through his six frames. The relatively quick hook no doubt was related to him throwing 119 pitches in last week’s gem against the Indians.
Singer entered that outing versus the Indians having yet to post a quality start in eight tries. He’s now fired off 14 straight scoreless innings, yielding a mere three hits and three walks while fanning 16 batters in the process.
It’s the first time in the history of the Royals franchise that a pitcher has struck out 8+ batters and allowed no more than two hits in back-to-back starts. He’s also the ninth pitcher in the last 45 years to post consecutive scoreless starts with 8+ strikeouts and two or fewer hits.
One thing to point out with Singer is the very difficult schedule he’s had to absorb. In a six-start span beginning in early August, he had to face the Cubs on the road, the Twins three times in a row and then the White Sox twice in a row. That’s a ridiculously unfair stretch for anyone, let alone a rookie who bypassed Triple-A.
Singer is now sitting on a 4.14 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 52/18 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings covering his first 10 major league starts. Not bad at all. Singer gets the Cardinals next.
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When Angels manager Joe Maddon elected last month to move Mike Trout down from the No. 2 spot in the lineup to the No. 3 spot, he needed someone else to seize the two-hole.
Jared Walsh was given the next opportunity and he’s run with it.
Walsh went deep again Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks, slugging a solo shot off of Taylor Clarke. He also singled, drew a walk and scored an additional run.
The home run was Walsh’s sixth in his last seven games and seventh in his last 10 contests. He’s the first Angels player since 2014 to have six straight multi-hit games.
After entering this month hitless in 13 at-bats this season, Walsh is batting an utterly ridiculous .422 (19-for-45) with seven long balls, four doubles, a triple and 17 RBI in 12 September games. His OPS in 63 plate appearances this season is sitting at 1.142.
Walsh is a former 39th-round pick who never made any top-100 prospect lists, and he really struggled in his brief time with the big club last season. He’s also already 27. However, Walsh did smash 36 homers over just 98 games at Triple-A in 2019 and hit 29 over the boards the previous year in the minors. He does have pop, even if last season’s numbers were propped up by the supercharged ball.
Walsh isn’t going to keep going at this rate, of course, but he’s in a favorable spot in the Angels’ lineup behind David Fletcher and ahead of Trout and Anthony Rendon. At the very least, that 28 percent rostered rate in Yahoo leagues figures to be on the upswing.
American League Quick Hits: Kyle Higashioka cranked three home runs Wednesday in the Yankees’ win over the Blue Jays. Seriously … Kyle Gibson fired a complete game four-hitter to help the Rangers to a win over the Astros on Wednesday … Gerrit Cole fired seven innings of one-run ball in Wednesday’s blowout win over the Blue Jays … Lance McCullers allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings and fanned eight batters on Wednesday against the Rangers in his return from the injured list … Ken Giles has landed back on the injured list after aggravating his right elbow injury … Aaron Judge (calf) was hitless in his return from the IL Wednesday … Keegan Akin struck out nine over five scoreless innings to pick up a win on Wednesday over the Braves in their victory … DJ LeMahieu reached base four times in Wednesday’s blowout over the Blue Jays while collecting two homers, three RBI, and three runs scored … J.D. Martinez went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI in Wednesday's loss to the Marlins … Salvador Perez went 2-for-3 with a homer, a walk, and three RBI in Wednesday’s victory over the Tigers … Justin Verlander (forearm) threw about 75 pitches in his simulated game on Wednesday … Making a return from a chest injury, Jake Odorizzi was pulled from Wednesday's start versus the White Sox due to a blister issue … Mitch Garver's (intercostal) return will be delayed after he "took one off the cup" while catching at the Twins' alternate training site, per manager Rocco Baldelli.
National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom exited Wednesday’s start versus the Phillies after just two innings because of a right hamstring spasm. He hopes to make his next start … Luis Castillo struck out 10 batters over seven scoreless innings in the Reds' victory over the Pirates on Wednesday … Jorge Alfaro homered twice Wednesday versus the Red Sox before leaving following a foul tip to the mask. He was cleared of any potentially concussion issues … Jean Segura went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored Wednesday against the Mets … J.D. Davis went 3-for-4 with a homer, three RBI, and two runs scored in a comeback win over the Phillies on Wednesday … A.J. Pollock slugged a solo home run Wednesday in the Dodgers' win over the Padres before exiting with a hamstring cramp … David Peralta went 3-for-4 with a homer and three runs scored in the Diamondbacks' win over the Angels on Wednesday … Ryan Braun went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer as the Brewers defeated the Cardinals in the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday … Zack Wheeler (fingernail) yielded three runs over 7 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Mets on Wednesday in his return to the mound … Cole Hamels (triceps) allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings on Wednesday against the Orioles in his Braves debut … The Phillies placed Jake Arrieta on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain … Jon Gray (shoulder) has been shut down for the remainder of the season.