Ray, Waino named August Pitchers of Month

September 2nd, 2021

This has been a breakout season for the Blue Jays’ and a turn-back-the-clock season for the Cardinals’ . On Thursday, they were named the American League and National League Pitchers of the Month, respectively, for their work in August.

Ray made six August starts for Toronto, which is trying to grab an AL Wild Card spot. While a lack of run support led to a mere 1-0 record, Ray certainly did his part. The left-hander pitched 41 innings with a 1.76 ERA, going at least six innings and allowing no more than two runs in each outing. Opponents batted .188 with a .478 OPS against him, and he struck out 52 batters -- including three straight double-digit performances to end the month -- while walking only eight.

Ray’s gems included holding the AL East-rival Red Sox scoreless for six innings on Aug. 7 and limiting the AL Central-leading White Sox to one run over seven innings while striking out 14 on Aug. 25.

This is the first monthly award for Ray, whose vastly improved control has propelled him into AL Cy Young Award candidacy this year. The 29-year-old, who is set to reach free agency this winter, is 10-5 with a 2.71 ERA, 202 strikeouts and a 5.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first full season with the Blue Jays.

This is the third time Wainwright has been named the NL Pitcher of the Month, but the first since September 2014, when he wrapped up a season that had him earning a top-three Cy Young Award finish for the fourth time in six seasons.

The veteran righty has gone through some tough times since then, including injuries and a 4.77 ERA from 2016-18. But he has since reemerged as the Cardinals’ most reliable starter. In 26 starts this season, Wainwright is 13-7 with a 2.97 ERA and an MLB-leading three complete games.

He was at his absolute best in August, logging at least six innings in each of his six outings, including a two-hit shutout in Pittsburgh on Aug. 11. That was one of Wainwright’s three scoreless starts during a month that also included his 40th birthday (Aug. 30). In 44 August innings, Wainwright allowed just seven runs (1.43 ERA), walked six and struck out 36, while going 5-1 to help the Cardinals stay in the NL Wild Card race.