The Cardinals’ decision to place Wainwright on the DL isn’t particularly surprising, as the 35-year-old has openly been dealing with arm soreness during his last two starts and has not hit 90 miles per hour on the radar gun in either of those appearances.
Wainwright is expected to be replaced in the Cardinals’ rotation by right-hander Luke Weaver, who has a 3.31 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in five big-league appearances (including two starts) this season. He’ll be replaced on the major-league roster by reliever Mike Mayers, who was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday.
Wainwright, a three-time All-Star who has finished within the top three of NL Cy Young voting four different times during his 12-year career, has struggled during 2017, posting a 5.12 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 23 starts despite the fact that his 12 pitcher wins are tied for sixth in the NL.
Among the 40 starters who have thrown at least 300 big-league innings since the beginning of 2016, Wainwright ranks 40th in ERA and opponent batting average and 39th in WHIP, as the Kevin Wheeler Show on 101 ESPN in St. Louis pointed out Friday. With those numbers in mind, Weaver may be an upgrade over Wainwright despite the latter’s veteran experience and leadership capabilities.