ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright struggled in the season's final month, and on Wednesday, he explained those struggles.
In a Twitter thread, the Cardinals' veteran starter clarified what he had misdiagnosed as "dead arm" earlier in the month. He said what he was dealing with in the final month of the season was a different injury that stemmed from a play that most probably overlooked.
"Want to clear a few things up as I didn't pitch like I wanted to down the stretch and feel the need to explain," Wainwright started on Twitter. "On Aug 28th I was hit in the knee by a comebacker against Atlanta. Without knowing it, after that game my stride length got shorter by almost a foot. Timing was thrown (off)."
Wainwright went on to describe the cascading effect of the injury.
That play, which went overlooked by even Wainwright, seemed like any other in an exciting, nationally-broadcast game between top National League contenders. This is what that play looked like.
What ended up in the scorebook as a 1-3 putout to end the first inning left Wainwright searching for answers on the mound for the next month.
When that game ended, Adam Wainwright had a 3.09 ERA. By the time his season ended, it had ballooned to 3.71, the highest it had been in the first month of the season.
In his six starts between Sept. 3 and Oct. 2, Wainwright's ERA was 7.22, struck out just 13 hitters and allowed 55 batters to reach base in 28 and two-thirds innings. Wainwright did not pitch in the team's short-lived Wild Card appearance.
The Cardinals still made the playoffs and they likely couldn't have avoided the three-game Wild Card series, but as Wainwright tweeted, "who knows what happens if I'm sharp down the stretch."
While Wainwright answered some questions, he did not address one of the most pressing questions heading into the offseason: Will he return for another season?