It will be the final start of Wainwright’s career against the Braves, the team the Brunswick, Ga., native grew up watching before they made him their first-round draft pick in 2000. The Braves traded Wainwright to the Cardinals in 2003, and he has gone 10-4 with a 3.42 ERA against them in 21 games (16 starts).
Wainwright was scheduled to start last Saturday, but his turn was skipped in the rotation.
“He needed recovery time,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Yes, it works out to where he pitches in Atlanta, but he needed the extra days. His last outing, he threw the ball well against San Diego, but he said it was in his top five of the worst he’s felt on a mound in his career.”
Wainwright will have five more starts this season and needs two victories to become the third 200-game winner in Cardinals history. Bob Gibson (251) and Jesse Haines (210) are St. Louis’ all-time winningest pitchers.
“I loved playing (in Atlanta) over the years,” Wainwright said. “I have to call it my home crowd, kind of, because so many people travel from home down in South Georgia to see us play. It’s been a point of pride for me for sure to play there, and I’ve pitched well there through my years.
“Every time I’ve pitched against that team, it’s always been a great team. They keep putting out great teams, and this might be the best one I’ve ever seen.”
Wainwright was honored by the Braves before Wednesday’s game. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, who was Wainwright’s Double-A manager, presented him with a framed portrait.
Wainwright (3-10, 8.10 ERA) will be opposed by Atlanta left-hander Max Fried (6-1, 2.52).
Fried is coming off one of his best efforts of the year, seven scoreless innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. It was the fifth scoreless stint of 2023 for Fried but his longest outing of the year. He has begun to return to form after missing three months with a forearm strain.
“He looked like himself,” Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud said after Friday’s contest. “He was very comfortable, so I think he’s right where he needs to be.”
Fried said, “I don’t have a lot of innings on my arm, which is really nice. But it’s really just trying to fine-tune it and just sharpen and make sure I’m the same guy I’ve been in the past.”
Fried has pitched superbly against St. Louis. In five career appearances, four starts, against the Cardinals, he is 4-0 with 0.34 ERA.
The Braves have only been swept three times this year, most recently July 25-26 in a two-game series at Boston. Atlanta was swept in a three-game series by the San Diego Padres and the Houston Astros in April.
The Cardinals are looking for their third sweep of the season. They took three in a row against the Red Sox from May 12-14 and three straight against the Miami Marlins from July 17-19. St. Louis was swept in a three-game home series against Atlanta from April 3-5.
Atlanta made several roster moves on Wednesday, placing right-handed pitchers Michael Soroka (right forearm inflammation) and Collin McHugh (right shoulder inflammation) on the injured list. Soroka started the Tuesday game against the Cardinals but left after three innings with numbness in his fingers.
Right-handers Ben Heller and Darius Vines were called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill the roster vacancies.
—Field Level Media
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