ST. LOUIS — We now know the 2022 MLB season won't have its opening day as scheduled. But if games continue to be chopped off the calendar, it could put the chase of an all-time record by two iconic Cardinals at risk of coming up short.
On Tuesday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the first two series of the 2022 season had been canceled, due to the league and Players' Union not being able to come to a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.
So far, just the Cardinals' opening road trip of three games in Pittsburgh and two games in Chicago have been axed.
However, if things continue to drag on without a deal, the league could keep slashing games off the schedule.
That would be something particular to keep tabs on when it comes to Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina's pursuit of an all-time record.
Wainwright and Molina have started 305 games together as a battery at the end of the 2021 season, with the Cardinals winning 200 of those games. With 20 more games started, they'll pass the Detroit Tigers' battery of Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan for most games started by a battery in baseball history.
Now, there is still a significant number of games that need to be canceled before thoughts of breaking the record in 2022 go out the window.
A fully-healthy Wainwright made 32 starts in the 162-game season of 2021. 30 of those starts were caught by Yadier Molina.
So there is likely some wiggle room when it comes to how many games could be canceled and the pair still get the record, given both Wainwright and Molina stay healthy for however many games this season ends up being.
With just two more starts, Wainwright and Molina would pass Red Faber and Red Schalk for the third-most battery starts in baseball history. With 12 more, they'll pass Warren Spahn and Del Crandall to move into second place.
Molina has said 2022 will be his final season in the Majors, as he agreed to return to the Cardinals on a one-year deal. Wainwright is also going year-to-year, but has not definitively said 2022 will be his last year.
In an interview for Sports Plus after the 2021 season, Wainwright said owning the all-time battery starts record with his long-time teammate Molina would be one of the biggest honors of his career.
"I think when you think about baseball, it's been played for so long and so many players have played it. So many legends of the game have played it. If you can get any kind of all-time record right now in today's game, that's a pretty big deal," Wainwright said. "I'm just blessed to be able to pitch as many games as I have to Yadier. But if we can break that record, that's something we can always, always, always talk about and something we'll always have. Because I'll be honest. I don't think anyone is ever gonna break that record again. That's a cool record to get. It would be a special thing to be known as the all-time battery in any sport ever. It would be crazy."
More Cardinals Coverage