Wainwright bolsters Cy candidacy after completing Cincy sweep

During a 46-minute rain delay near the end of Wednesday's game, @MisterRedlegs tweeted a sobering realization for his upstart Cincinnati Reds.

"Cards are showing Reds what short-series pitching matchups mean," he wrote. "And how they stack up against the field."

Translation No. 1: The Reds' rotation leaves a lot to be desired as we look toward the next two months.

Translation No. 2: If the St. Louis Cardinals keep getting pitching efforts like this, it's going to be hard for any National League team to beat them.

In a tense series where Brandon Phillips(notes) and the inexperienced Reds tried to fight the Cardinals with not-nice words, St. Louis instead fought back with the simple standbys of starting pitching and solid hitting.

(A couple of grand slams from their supporting cast, including one from Colby Rasmus(notes) on his birthday today, didn't hurt matters.)

And while the Cardinals got complete efforts from a number of players over the last three days, the performance of Adam Wainwright(notes) on Wednesday might have been the most impressive. With his team needing a victory to complete a sweep that would leave them alone in first place, the righty pitched seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball.

Indeed, the only thing that was able to stop Wainwright during the sweep-sealing 6-1 victory were late rain showers that forced him from the game before his time.

The performance gives Wainwright 17 wins for the season (which ties him with Ubaldo Jimenez(notes)) and drops his ERA to 1.99 (which puts him just above Josh Johnson's(notes) 1.97) Since the All-Star break, he's 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA and is riding a scoreless inning streak of 22.

Though I'm sure he has much bigger goals in mind, I'd have to say that he's taken the lead in the NL Cy Young race he lost to Tim Lincecum(notes) and teammate Chris Carpenter(notes) last season.

As Cardinals fans are fond of saying, Waino has been very bueno this season. If he and his teammates keep it up, the Reds and their fans are going to have plenty of reasons to worry.

What to Read Next