Adam Wainwright Needs His New (Old) Curveball
The St. Louis Cardinals’ Ace Adam Wainwright returned from a brutal Achilles injury in earnest in 2016. With four top 3 Cy Young finishes since 2010, Waino is one of the most talented (and underrated) pitchers in the modern era. His success can largely be traced back to his nasty curveball, and even his Twitter handle (@UncleCharlie50) pays homage to his dominant offering. Wainwright’s 2016 performance did not exactly ring success with the same dominant Uncle Charlie that has earmarked his career.
Wainwright’s 2016 season was somewhere between pedestrian and ugly. He was healthy, starting 33 games, but ran just a 4.62 ERA and led the league in both hits and earned runs allowed. He struck guys out less frequently than his career average and also posted a career worst WHIP. But Waino thinks he figured something out, and it all goes back to his curveball.
MLB.com ran a story that, while watching an MLB Network special featuring himself, Wainwright discovered that he had inadvertently shifted his curveball grip while coming back from that Achilles injury. Following a few tosses with his wife, his optimism heading into 2017 was renewed.
Friend of the blog and mlb.com beat writer David Adler (_@dadler on Twitter and worth the follow) did some digging and found that Wainwright’s 2016 curveball was likely to blame for some of those 2016 struggles:
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