The Silver Slugger winners were announced on Thursday night, and while there was a new champion among pitchers, it was a very familiar name. Adam Wainwright just finished his 12th season in the big leagues, and although he had been an All-Star, a National League Cy Young Award runner-up and a World Series champion, he had never won a Silver Slugger.
In 2017, however, Wainwright took his offensive game to new heights with a .262/.279/.452 batting line that led to a career-best .731 OPS. Along the way, he pounded a pair of homers, making him just one of five pitchers to record at least two on the season. First, he struck in Milwaukee on April 21, against Wily Peralta:
The Cardinals jumped out to a 2-1 lead and went on to win, 6-3.
On June 1, Wainwright was at it again, this time back at home. The Busch Stadium crowd roared in approval when he crushed an offering from the Dodgers' Brandon McCarthy over the left-field fence:
That two-run shot put the Cardinals in front, and those were the only runs they'd need on the entire day. Wainwright threw six scoreless innings as his team handed the 104-win Dodgers a rare 2-0 loss.
There was no doubt about that blast, either:
With that second long ball, Wainwright joined former Silver Slugger winners Madison Bumgarner and Yovani Gallardo as the only active pitchers with at least 10 homers. (The Padres' Travis Wood punched his ticket later in the season, as well.) So, it was only fitting that 2017 be the year that Wainwright earned a Silver Slugger of his own.
Time to soak in that victory, Waino.