ST. LOUIS - Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright insists he's fine physically, though he's failed to make it through the fifth inning in both of his post-season starts.
St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said Sunday that he thinks Wainwright's workload is simply taking a toll. The GM said it might be a good idea in the off-season to figure how to cut down on all those innings.
"From an aggregate standpoint, there's a lot of volume that he's exposed to," Mozeliak said. "My view on this is there may be a little bit of fatigue, plus he had a robust September. He carried us."
Counting the post-season, Wainwright has thrown 512 2-3 innings the last two years. That's by far the most in the majors.
"Now, any breather he can get, he may benefit from," Mozeliak said.
In nine post-season innings, Wainwright has surrendered eight earned runs and 17 hits. He blamed mechanical woes and not a chronic elbow issue after losing Game 1 of the NL Championship Series to San Francisco on Saturday night.
A big September may have worn down Wainwright. He was 5-0 while totalling 39 innings, although he was scratched from the regular-season finale after the Cardinals clinched the NL Central.
Wainwright got 10 days' rest before starting the NL Division Series opener at Dodger Stadium. He got seven days off before facing the Giants.
Wainwright, a 20-game winner for the second time in his career, would be on regular rest for Game 5 Thursday night in San Francisco. Manager Mike Matheny expects Wainwright to take the ball.
Matheny said Sunday the pitcher "very adamant that this is the best he's felt after a start in a long time, which is great news."
"We're beyond the 'Just tell me what I want to hear' kind of garbage and this was sincere," Matheny said. "I can't wait to watch him pitch again."
After Game 1, both Wainwright and Matheny also blamed defensive miscues that greatly contributed to the 3-0 loss. Wainwright said his biggest problem was out-of-whack mechanics.
"My arm, it doesn't feel great," he said. "But it certainly should be a lot better results-wise than that."
Michael Wacha would be the most likely Game 5 potential replacement. But last year's NLCS MVP has not been used in the post-season after struggling to regain form from a shoulder injury that sidelined him two months.