So Joe has something to write about through the offseason (yes, if the Cardinals are not in the playoffs, it is the offseason), Joe has to milk things out here.
Bernie Miklasz of 101Sports.com posted 25 reasons why the Cardinals failed to make the playoffs. Joe will break down each element of Bernie’s each weekday for the remainder of the month.
9. The struggling ace.
This was huge. The Cardinals, with injuries and tank jobs in their rotation (Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, Mike [“Take a”] Leake), needed Waino to be Waino, the pitcher he was before his Achilles heel injury in 2015.
Problem was, Waino — with a few exceptions — was a shell of his former self and at the AARP age for professional athletes at 34, it is fair to wonder if Waino will ever be the same and perhaps has entered the sunset of his career?
If ever the Cardinals needed their ace to be the rock of the rotation, it was this season. And Waino, through no fault of his own, more often than not, couldn’t answer the bell.
Of course, he had enough glimpses of his former self to make one think he still has it. Were those glimpses teases? Joe remembers when Bob Gibson was done, he still on occasion threw like the Hall of Famer he was. Problem was, those didn’t happen often enough and even Gibson could see the next page and retired.
Joe isn’t saying Waino is finished but let’s keep in mind that Father Time, a cruel SOB, is undefeated. Waino’s inability to capture the success of even the recent past was a huge reason the Cardinals were watching the playoffs on their couches.