On April 25th of 2015, the Cardinals were dealt a serious blow. Their ace, Adam Wainwright, suffered a freak injury while taking an at-bat in Milwaukee.
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Wainwright tore his achilles tendon, and the prognosis was that he would be out of commission for "nine to 12 months." Ryan Howard suffered a similar injury on the final pitch of the 2011 season in October, and was back in July of 2012, almost exactly nine months to the day. That timetable would seemingly put Wainwright on track to be able to return in December, which unfortunately is two months after the season would end. However, that's not how he see's it.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Adam Wainwright at the Pujols golf tournament this morning: "I'll do whatever it takes to pitch in October. That's the deal."</p>— David Cobb (@DavidWCobb) <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidWCobb/status/615542927503200260">June 29, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The Cardinals have done just fine without Wainwright, and own MLB's best record at 51-24. They also have the second most valuable rotation according to fWAR, just behind the Washington Nationals. St. Louis clearly isn't in need of any help when it comes to their starting staff, however if Wainwright can prove himself healthy, and ready to compete, it's hard to imagine a situation in which they wouldn't welcome him back with open arms.
It remains to be seen if this is a realistic scenario, but Wainwright is one of the few pitchers that it would be unwise to bet against. He's dealt with injuries before, but has always come back in top form. Since becoming a starter in 2007, Wainwright has produced an ERA of 2.96, an FIP of 3.09, and held hitters to a ridiculous home run rate of just 0.59 per nine innings. He's one of MLB's most dominant starters, and if he can be back for October baseball, the Cardinals will be incredibly tough to get through.