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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Wainwright’s quality pitching continues

The St. Louis Cardinals Adam Wainwright has 25 quality starts in his last 26 outings, including all seven in 2010.

Adam Wainwright (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Once again, it is time to revisit the quality start following Adam Wainwright’s Sunday outing, during which he gave up two runs and five hits over six innings despite not having his best stuff.

After the St. Louis Cardinals scored five in the top of the sixth to go up 11-2 over the Pittsburgh Pirates, I would have given Wainwright the rest of the day off. Though he was around 80 pitches at the time, he has been among the league leaders in pitches thrown and innings pitched both last season and this and there are many more important battles to fight up ahead.

Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan left Wainwright in to pitch the bottom of the sixth. He struggled, but worked around a single and a walk to lead off the inning, completing the minimum for a quality start before being lifted at an even 100 pitches.

After the rotation’s 14-game quality start streak was broken by Kyle Lohse on Thursday in Philadelphia, Chris Carpenter began a new one in Pittsburgh on Friday. Followed by Jaime Garcia on Saturday and Wainwright, the latest run is three and counting.

Wainwright’s Sunday outing was the 25th time in 26 starts going back to last season that the right-hander put forth a quality start as defined by yielding three runs or fewer while lasting at least six innings. During that time, Wainwright is 16-5 with the only non-quality start a 14-7 win, also at Pittsburgh last September 4.

Wainwright’s quality start streak of seven this season is tied for the major league lead with three others. The table below is sorted by number of quality starts, then by innings pitched. Note Wainwright leads them in the latter category.

He is just one ahead of a group of four with six straight season-opening quality starts. Among them are his teammates Brad Penny and Garcia. The former starts at home on Tuesday against Houston with the latter next scheduled to take the hill on Friday night in Cincinnati.

Season-opening quality starts, MLB, 2010, through Sunday, May 9

Tm G W L GS CG SHO GF IP H R ER BB SO HR
Adam Wainwright STL 7 5 1 7 2 0 0 52 35 13 12 12 43 1
Tim Lincecum SFG 7 4 0 7 0 0 0 48 34 10 10 10 64 3
Ubaldo Jimenez COL 7 6 1 7 1 1 0 48 28 5 5 20 49 0
Roy Oswalt HOU 7 2 4 7 0 0 0 48 40 15 14 13 45 5
Barry Zito SFG 6 5 0 6 0 0 0 42 27 7 7 12 28 0
C.J. Wilson TEX 6 3 1 6 2 0 0 41 31 9 7 15 29 0
Brad Penny STL 6 3 2 6 0 0 0 40 38 10 9 8 24 2
Jaime Garcia STL 6 3 2 6 0 0 0 38 26 7 5 15 30 0

Thanks to statistician Tom Orf for the table.

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