By Shane Gravlin
“Uncle Charlie” Adam Wainwright dazzled on his 39th birthday, throwing a complete game and fanning nine batters en route to a 7-2 victory over the visiting Cleveland Indians.
Receiving his ankle-breaking curveballs was friend and teammate Yadier Molina, who was playing in his 2000th game as an MLB player.
Cardinals Nation is eternally grateful for all that these two baseball generals have done for the city of St. Louis. They hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy in two separate Octobers; first in 2006 when they were youngsters, then again in 2011 once they had settled into their all-star roles. Now, in 2020, they’re the veterans. Molina and Wainwright deserve a thank you and will someday get one, maybe in the form of a Hall of Fame induction.
But, with gas still in the tank, this duo will be relied upon heavily this season, not just to perform on the field, but to provide a voice in the locker room. It’s going to be their playing experience and sage baseball wisdom that the Cardinals as a club will be reliant on as October baseball draws near.
The Cardinals rookie movement has been evident, as there have been over ten players to make their professional debut in the last two weeks. While rookie players like Dylan Carlson and Seth Elledge are certainly exciting and talented, they’ll need the direction of seasoned virtuosos like Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina to grow into the players that they’re projected to become.
In 2006, the script was reversed. Then, “Yadi and Waino” were the players with something to prove, and it was veterans like Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen who taught them and ultimately passed the reins down. Now, time and their careers have come full circle, and they have to be the captains instead.
The good news is that in Sunday’s contest, they were. In prime, vintage form, Wainwright was spinning curveballs that made batters look silly, and Molina drove in a run and had two hits. The Cardinals were counting on the two to play well, since the birds had lost four straight and needed a win to right the ship.
For so long, the Cardinals have leaned on these two greats, as they’ve been reliant since day one, but they’ll need to continue to be in that old-school form on the field as well as guide the newcomers. If that can happen, don’t rule out a playoff run for the Red Birds.
Edited by Emma Moloney