JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright will next take the mound on Monday in front of a sellout crowd at Great American Ball Park. Before he could make his third Opening Day start, however, he had to get through his final one in Florida.
Wainwright did so with relative ease on Wednesday, throwing 80 pitches over five shutout innings against the Nationals. He closed out spring by not allowing a run in either of his final two starts.
"I'm ready for [games] to start counting," Wainwright said afterward. "I feel good, and spring has flown by. I've had a lot of fun down here and now it's time to get going."
"It was just a well-pitched, well-mixed game again today," added manager Mike Matheny. "I saw enough to get him out after five."
Wainwright will start his prep work for Cincinnati on Thursday, throw a bullpen the day after and then kick off another season as the Cardinals' ace. He'll do so with particular confidence in his sinker, too, a pitch that he intends to incorporate more during the regular season.
Wainwright focused heavily on finding the feel for that pitch this spring, and he threw many sinkers in this final outing.
"I just think it's great to work off that and my four-seam [fastball]," Wainwright said. "They are two completely different pitches. The first pitch of the at-bat, you could throw either one and they're going to do completely different things. … I just think that's a great luxury to have."
Wainwright finished the spring having walked just one, which came back in his second start when he tried to cater to the crowd by throwing a full-count curveball before he had a good feel for his signature pitch. One of his goals this season is to issue fewer walks than starts he makes.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.