Former St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright gets another chance to turn things around in 2012 today, when the Cardinals host the Cincinnati Reds in the third and final game of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals made it two in a row in the series and four of five overall against Cincinnati on Wednesday, when Jaime Garcia pitched seven strong innings and Rafael Furcal went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored as St. Louis clobbered the Reds, 11-1.
Carlos Beltran and Tyler Greene each hit a two-run home run for the Cardinals, who have won four straight. Garcia (2-0) gave up just one run on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Devin Mesoraco went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Reds, who have dropped five of six. Mat Latos (0-2) was lit up for eight runs on nine hits with three walks and six strikeouts over just 5 2/3 innings.
Wainwright, who pitched exclusively in relief over 61 appearances when the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, quickly developed into a starting ace in subsequent seasons, winning 14, 11, 19 and 20 games between 2007-10 before an elbow injury last spring cost him the entire 2011 season.
The 6-foot-7, 228-pounder has made two starts so far this April and had unsuccessful results, dropping a pair of decisions - to Milwaukee and Chicago - while giving up 11 hits and 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings.
He's walked three and struck out nine, but opposition batters have a .306 average against him, up 61 points from his career mark of .245.
Wainwright is 3-4 in 12 career games against the Reds with a 3.98 earned run average.
Cincinnati counters with 35-year-old Key West, Fla. native Bronson Arroyo, who starts for the third time overall this season and the 30th time in his career against the Cardinals.
The 6-foot-4, 196-pounder has allowed 13 hits and four earned runs in starts against Miami and Washington but has emerged with no-decisions in each while the Reds have gone 1-1.
Arroyo is 7-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 186 1/3 innings against the Cardinals, allowing 202 hits and walking 53 with 116 strikeouts.
He won a career-best 17 games in 2010 before tumbling to just nine wins in 32 starts last season, just the second time since 2003 that he finished short of double-digit wins.