Better Luck Next Year, Adam Wainwright

click to enlarge Better Luck Next Year, Adam Wainwright
The Curse of 2010 has taken away our hopes for playoff glory. Sadly, it appears it's also going to take away any hope we might have for seeing our players win much in the way of personal postseason hardware too. 

Jaime Garcia has already been shut down for the season, and I would be willing to bet my next paycheck his candidacy for National League Rookie of the Year got shut down right along with his bionic elbow. I felt all along he would probably be overlooked for the award, thanks to the hype surrounding uber-prospect Jason Heyward coming into the season, but I thought there was at least a chance Jaime could sneak in thanks to his remarkable numbers. Unfortunately I think that's all but impossible now. 

Albert Pujols could pretty much be named Most Valuable Player any and every season, but this year it's looking more and more likely that he'll be passed over in favor of Joey Votto's monster season or Carlos Gonzalez's insane second half. It could still go to any of the three of them, but Albert's numbers aren't far enough ahead of what the other two players are doing to make up for the Cardinals missing the playoffs. I have a feeling Albert won't be accepting the MVP trophy this year. 

So that leaves Adam Wainwright, right? He's been the best pitcher in the National League for most of the season, at least since Ubaldo Jimenez took a turn down at the All-Star break, and should certainly bring home his first Cy Young award this year. 

Um, yeah....about that...

Yesterday it was revealed Wainwright has been dealing with soreness and stiffness in his throwing elbow for his last two starts, and may end up missing his final start of the season because of it. Meanwhile, the man Adam has been running neck and neck with for the Cy Young, Roy Halladay, went out last night and threw a complete game two-hitter for his 21st win of the season. It was not a particularly good day. 

Halladay will likely get one more start on the season, giving him a chance at 22 victories, while it looks entirely possible Wainwright will have to sit right where he is. If so, unless Doc Halladay goes out and somehow gives up 30 or 40 runs in a couple innings I don't see how Wainwright has much of a chance to win. 

As things stand now, Wainwright still has the edge in ERA, 2.42 to 2.44, but Halladay is better in nearly every other meaningful statistical category. Halladay has more strikeouts, fewer walks, more wins, fewer losses, has thrown more innings, and has a significantly better FIP. (And regardless of what Rick Horton's willful ignorance might say, FIP just happens to be a pretty useful number.) Halladay also happens to pitch for a playoff-bound team, which certainly doesn't matter as much to voters for the Cy Young as it does in the MVP voting (and it really shouldn't matter at all), but it still somehow seems to get mentioned every year when the awards debate season rolls around. Both Halladay and Wainwright have been outstanding this year, but I think Halladay is going to end up with the hardware. 

It's really frustrating, seeing Wainwright actually manage to better his remarkable 2009 campaign and still not be able to get over that hump and win an award he certainly pitched well enough to deserve. At least if he were healthy he would have a fighting chance, but as it stands now it looks like there's a good chance Adam won't even be able to make his case any further in 2010. 
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