CINCINNATI -- For all that Adam Wainwright has already accomplished in his career, winning an Opening Day start still remains to be checked off.
Wainwright was the losing pitcher in the Cardinals' Opening Day defeat to the D-backs last season. In 2009, he watched the Pirates come from behind to spoil the day. His best chance for an Opening Day victory came a year earlier, when Wainwright was staked to a 5-1 lead against the Rockies only to have the game postponed due to rain. That meant that none of the statistics counted, so officially, Kyle Lohse, who started the next day, is credited as pitching the Cardinals' opener in '08.
Wainwright will get another chance on Monday at 3:10 p.m. CT as he matches up against the Reds' Johnny Cueto.
"An Opening Day start is obviously an awesome honor and something I'm very excited about, something I hope to do for five more years," Wainwright said on Sunday, as the Cardinals were wrapping up an afternoon workout. "Winning is ultimately the name of the game. You can start as many Opening Days as you want, but if you don't win them, you're going to lose a little bit of greatness on that day. It would be nice to win one."
If Wainwright is to add this particular feather to his cap, he'll have to defeat a Reds team that was responsible for three of the nine losses on the right-hander's record a year ago. In the last two of those losses, Wainwright allowed a combined 15 earned runs and 17 hits in eight innings.
He rebounded from those back-to-back clunkers by making some mechanical adjustments to keep himself from tipping pitches and went on to post a 1.80 ERA over his final five starts of the 2013 regular season.
"It didn't matter if it was Cincinnati or if it was the worst team in the league last year -- where I was that day against Cincinnati here in Cincinnati was not good," Wainwright recalled. "And the following start against Cincinnati wasn't good either. I made some good adjustments. I couldn't have gotten anybody out. It's just a crazy game."
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.