His manager believes he’s deserving of the award and the Milwaukee Brewers probably feel the same way.
Wainwright looks to continue his dominance of the Brewers and become the majors’ first 20-game winner when he takes the ball for the Cardinals on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Wainwright (19-8, 2.58 ERA) appears to be the favorite to win his first Cy Young. He leads the league in victories, ranks third in ERA and is tied with Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo(notes) for fourth in strikeouts with 204. Wainwright also carried the Cardinals’ rotation when 16-game winner Chris Carpenter(notes) missed five weeks early in the year with a strained left ribcage muscle.
With Albert Pujols(notes) having another outstanding season at the plate, Wainwright and the St. Louis first baseman have a chance to become the first NL teammates to win the Cy Young and MVP in the same season since Pujols and Carpenter in 2005.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa believes Wainwright sealed up the Cy Young Award the same day St. Louis (91-68) clinched the NL Central.
In Saturday’s 6-3 win over Colorado, Wainwright allowed three runs and 10 hits with 11 strikeouts in eight innings, and escaped an jam in his final inning by striking out Clint Barmes(notes) and pinch-hitter Jason Giambi(notes) to strand runners on first and second.
“He might have won the (Cy Young) award in the eighth inning,” La Russa said of his right-hander who threw a career-high 130 pitches.
While Wainwright would get La Russa’s vote, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America won’t submit their ballots until after Sunday’s games. This gives Wainwright one last chance to shine against one of his favorite opponents.
After allowing one run and two hits in eight innings of a tough-luck 1-0 loss to the Brewers on May 16, Wainwright has posted a 0.40 ERA while winning his last three starts against them. He has struck out 24 in 22 1-3 innings in those outings and has virtually shut down Milwaukee’s top sluggers.
Wainwright isn’t the only Cardinal to find success against the Brewers (77-82) this season.
Pujols is batting .414 with four homers, four doubles and 10 RBIs in his last seven games against them, while Matt Holliday(notes) is hitting .455 with three home runs and nine RBIs in six games since joining St. Louis in July.
The Cardinals, coming off Thursday’s 13-0 win at Cincinnati, have won nine of 11 over Milwaukee after losing the first four meetings.
The Brewers arrive at Busch Stadium after a 9-2 loss to Colorado to match a season-high four-game skid. Poor pitching is to blame for the losing streak with Milwaukee yielding 32 runs and a .333 opponents’ batting average.
Looper allowed five runs - three earned - and seven hits in six innings of Saturday’s 7-5 win over Philadelphia, but didn’t receive a decision. The right-hander has only lost once in his last nine starts.
Looper, who pitched for St. Louis from 2006-08, is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against his former team this year.