ST. LOUIS -- When Adam Wainwright signed a spring contract extension that guaranteed he would be in St. Louis through the 2018 season, the ace right-hander talked about the potential to carve a legacy as a Cardinal. One of the benchmarks along that path would be to rival the nine-year Cardinals career of Chris Carpenter -- and with Friday night's performance, Wainwright finds himself having reached that point.
With his nine strikeouts on Friday, Wainwright leaped Carpenter to move into third place on the all-time franchise K list with 1,090. Wainwright is likely to assume the second spot in his next start, as Dizzy Dean only had five more. Wainwright's 15th win of the 2013 season was also the 95th of his career. That equals Carpenter's total as a Cardinal.
Reaching those numbers are particularly meaningful to Wainwright, because it means he is matching his mentor.
"He taught me to be a professional up here, and the guy I watched coming up through the system was him," Wainwright said. "He went on this last road trip and I got to sit and talk pitching with him. Each time we get to do that, I still learn a lot from him. He knows my game real well. It's nice to have a guy like that who can watch you pitch and say, 'Hey, you've been doing this or that a little bit differently,' talk strategy, talk game plan. I just love that."
Dig into the numbers of the two pitchers and other comparable figures emerge. Wainwright now holds a 3.06 ERA in his eight years with the Cardinals. Carpenter's career ERA in St. Louis is 3.07. Carpenter has more complete games (21) and shutouts (10) than Wainwright (16 and six, respectively), but he's also started 21 more games.
Wainwright has averaged 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings to Carpenter's 7.2. Yet, Carpenter has a slightly better strikeout-to walk ratio at 3.67, compared to Wainwright's 3.34.
The regular-season numbers may be similar, but the postseason figures still tip heavily in Carpenter's favor. Wainwright has just two career playoff wins, while Carpenter holds the franchise record with 10 in 18 starts.
"I just have to get some postseason numbers like he has and then we'll start talking about comparable careers," Wainwright said. "He's been such a horse for so many years that it's just an honor to be in the same conversation."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less