ST. LOUIS – Set to retire at the season’s end, Adam Wainwright was hoping to reach a big career milestone early in his grand sendoff. He hasn’t reached it yet, and he still has some chances at it, but time is ticking.

Wainwright continues his push for 200 career wins. If he can reach that point before October 1, he will become one of only five active pitchers to reach that mark and one of just 120 all-time with at least 200 MLB victories.

The soon-to-be 42-year-old has been stuck at 198 wins since mid-June. He’s made ten starts since then, though it’s been a tough road toward the milestone. He’s winless in his last 10 outings, the St. Louis Cardinals have only won one of those, and he only has two quality starts in that stretch.

Wainwright’s latest start Monday was one of his better outings of the season and a textbook-missed opportunity. Wainwright battled with San Diego Padres ace Blake Snell to keep the game scoreless through five innings. The Padres took the lead in his final inning on a sacrifice fly from former teammate Matt Carpenter, and the Cardinals couldn’t muster enough momentum to give their longtime ace a chance to win.

Needing some help to get the job done, it’s not the first time Wainwright has weathered through a game without much run support this year. He’s had one run of support or less in 10 of his 18 starts this year, including zero in seven of those.

In a career remembered by his strong sportsmanship, Wainwright isn’t one to direct blame for such missed chances. The reality is, some of those roadblocks have made his quest for 200 more difficult. That said, based on his postgame comments Monday, he still seemed optimistic.

“Stinkin’ Carp. Golly. I’m going to send him some room service at 4 o’clock this morning or something,” Wainwright joked via Bally Sports Midwest.

If you look back at Wainwright’s career, that wasn’t the only missed opportunity for 200 wins. Having to deal with lengthy recoveries from Tommy John surgery (2011) and an Achilles tear (2015) cost him nearly two full seasons worth of chances.

There are also plenty of moments when Wainwright turned a gem only to end up empty-handed in the decision book. Some no-shows from his cast of bats and late blown saves from bullpen mates have spoiled some chances as well.

Here are five other starts when Wainwright pitched a game he was likely deserving of a win, but cruel fate ended up costing him a potential milestone-helper.

August 10, 2007 vs. Dodgers

FINAL SCORE: Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1

In an appetizer for his Cardinals career to come, Wainwright fires nine innings for his first complete game. He kept a hitting-happy Los Angeles Dodgers lineup scoreless through eight innings before James Loney spoiled the shutout bid with a two-run home run. The Cardinals, also scoreless through eight, scored one run in the ninth, but stranded the potential tying and winning runners on a game-ending strikeout.

July 1, 2009 vs. Giants

FINAL SCORE (10 innings): Cardinals 2, Giants 1

Another scenario when normal run support would have gotten the job done for a Wainwright win. In just the third nine-inning start of his career, Wainwright cruised through seven and fell victim to a game-tying sacrifice fly in the eighth. The Cardinals scored once in the first inning, but not again before extras. Wainwright was relieved for relief pitcher Ryan Franklin in the 10th inning, and St. Louis won on a walkoff home run from Colby Rasmus. Franklin ended up with the win.

July 22, 2010 vs. Phillies

FINAL SCORE (11 innings): Phillies 2, Cardinals 0

Though Adam Wainwright only covered six innings, one lucky bounce early on could have been the difference in a win. Matt Holliday singled in the fifth inning, and that’s all St. Louis could provide on offense. The game went into extra innings scoreless, and former Cardinals infielder Placido Polanco gave the Phillies all the run support they needed on an 11th-inning leadoff home run.

July 8, 2022 vs. Phillies

FINAL SCORE: Phillies 2, Cardinals 0

Interesting how history repeats itself sometimes, granted with some differences to how the game unfolded. Wainwright worked efficiently throughout the night and didn’t his build pitch count too high with just three strikeouts. Philadelphia scored just twice, both on late solo home runs from Alec Bohm. Wainwright tossed nine innings, his most recent complete game to date. The Cardinals only had six hits, none after the sixth inning.

August 17, 2023 vs. Mets

FINAL SCORE: Mets 4, Cardinals 2

Wainwright gave himself a good chance for wins 198 and 199 to come against the same team, but once again, the run support was not there. He gave up three runs over six innings, and the Mets prevailed behind two home runs and some small ball. Former rotation mate Jose Quintana tossed six shutout frames before a short-lived Cardinals rally in the seventh inning. Still, too little, too late for a Wainwright win.


FOX 2 found several other instances where Wainwright tossed a quality start (6 innings pitched, no more than 3 earned runs) only to end up without a win. Among those include…

Wainwright will have around 5-6 more chances, if healthy, to try and push for 200 career wins before his expected retirement.

NOTE: The video attached at the top of the story is a separate feature from FOX 2’s Jordan Williams looking at Wainwright’s push for 200 wins.