Wainwright looks to trust his stuff going forward

Righty may be victim of uneven defense, boasts FIP mark of 2.37

April 11th, 2017

WASHINGTON -- didn't strain to find a few positives after a laborious start on Monday, insisting that his "stuff is fine" and his "body feels good."

However, the results thus far don't reflect that, as Wainwright hasn't been able to pitch past the fifth inning in either of his two starts, both losses. He's had particular trouble against left-handed batters, who are 9-for-20 against him with a 1.050 OPS.

Long innings have been another part of the issue, as Wainwright is averaging 19.8 pitches per innings. The sample size is small, but it still reflects a sharp increase over his career average of 15.2. On Monday, it took Wainwright 96 pitches to garner 12 outs. Along the way, he allowed 11 hits, while collecting only five swing and misses. The Nationals fouled off a pitch 18 times.

"They put some tough at-bats on me early on, got my count up early, made me work very hard for it," Wainwright said. "I'm working too hard out there. I have good stuff. I need to trust it and get ahead in counts better and just attack more."

There are peripheral numbers, though, that suggest things will turn around for Wainwright. Though his ERA sits at 7.00, he has a Fielding Independent Pitching of 2.37. The large gap between the two figures is a reflection of defensive troubles behind him. Furthermore, his .452 BABIP is likely unsustainable.

"I just have to continue to work down a little bit better, trust those fielders behind me, let those balls get on the ground," Wainwright said.

Wainwright will get his next test on Sunday when he faces the Yankees for the first time in his career.

Worth noting

made his first career start at first base with Matt Carpenter out of the lineup on Tuesday. Manager Mike Matheny said that Carpenter felt a little back tightness late in Monday's game and the discomfort -- coupled with his 2-for-16 results against Washington starter -- prompted the decision. Carpenter did take batting practice and was expected to be available off the bench.

• The Cardinals announced that they will hold their 13th annual Purina Pooches in the Ballpark game on May 20. A limited number of $150 all-inclusive tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT this Thursday. Each ticket includes admission for a person and a dog. For more information, visit cardinals.com/pooches.