What an off-season it has been for the St Louis Cardinals. First, they have been in the middle of contract negotiations with their superstar, Albert Pujols, for the entire winter, only to find out that they will have to wait until the end of the season to continue contract negotiations. Now, news comes out of spring training that their ace, Adam Wainwright, is likely headed for Tommy John Surgery and done for the season.
Cardinals’ general manager John Mozeliak had this to say about the condition of Wainwright…
"“After his bullpen on Monday, he did feel something in his right elbow,” Mozeliak said. “I can say just based on the initial evaluation from our training staff, things do not look encouraging. But before we jump to any conclusions, we’ll just wait until the re-evaluation this afternoon.”Mozeliak said today: “There is probably a connection between the ligament being compromised (earlier) to now. Obviously, he’s pitched very successfully between (2004) and now. I guess at some point, it’s just a matter of time.” St Louis Post Dispatch"
First let me say, that you never want hear about a player of the caliber like Wainwright going down with a serious injury. However, as Cubs fans this is great news for the Cubs chances in 2011.The Cardinals will probably now go the entire season without their ace, Adam Wainwright. Last season Wainwright finished second in the National League Cy Young race, going 20-11 with an ERA of 2.42 with 213 strikeouts. What looked like a formidable rotation for the Cardinals, now looks like a rotation that may be vulnerable to injury and lack of success. The rest of the Cardinals rotation- Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse- have all sustained arm injuries at some point in their respective careers.
With the injury to Wainwright, the Cubs rotation now jumps ahead of the St Louis Cardinals; and behind the the rotation of the Milwaukee Brewers for best rotation in the division. Which in hindsight, may put the Cubs ahead of the Cardinals as far as contenders for the division crown. In my opinion what looked like a three team race between the Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals, is now a two team race between the Brewers and Cubs. I do not trust the Reds’ rotation enough to put them past the Brewers, or Cubs.
For once, it looks like the things may be falling in the favor of the Chicago Cubs. While most expectations have been down on the Cubs, the Cubs should be in a position to win 85-88 games. If they do, they will be in a position to potentially win the division and make the post-season for the first time since 2008.