Adam Wainwright didn't publicly call his teammates out last Wednesday in Milwaukee. But he did make clear a need for greater "urgency" within a clubhouse he strongly believes is the most talented within the National League Central Division, quite possibly the entire league.
Wainwright took a loss against the Brewers in likely his best start of the season. It is not a new phenomenon. Admittedly deserving of several losses in April as he continued to recover from February 2011 elbow surgery, Wainwright since has endured a number of bizarre outcomes. Wednesday's loss featured a four-run first inning that included three errors and three unearned runs. The Cardinals lost 4-3. Another winnable game landed in the discard pile.
"This team is capable of winning the championship again. We have a championship-caliber team," he said.
Wainwright's sentiment is the rule rather than the exception with a clubhouse that admits it has underachieved for more than half the season. Injuries handicapped its first half. However, resurgent pitching this month has yet to translate into a breakout. The Cardinals greeted the weekend and the Chicago Cubs statistically dominant but only two games above .500. Superficial similarities between this summer and last persist. That is not a good thing.
"The team we're running out there is good enough to win games that we're finding ways to lose," Wainwright said. "Last year at the end we found ways to win. I feel the team we have this year is better than almost every team we've played — by a long stretch. ... We are certainly underachieving. I believe we have a team that should be 20 over .500."
The math isn't that difficult if a team two games over .500 gets 20 over by turning nine losses into wins. The number fits well within numerous organizational estimates of how many wins have morphed into losses.
Wainwright says Cards are 'championship caliber'
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jul 22