A series of unfortunate events decided Game One of the 2013 World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals made several mistakes, the Boston Red Sox took full advantage, and it was 5-0 after two innings. Adam Wainwright pitched poorly, but not miserably, and his final line could have been much prettier than it was: five innings, six hits, one walk, four strikeouts, but five runs (three earned).

Well, hey now. Five innings, eh? Wainwright threw 95 pitches. Did that make sense?

I’m arguing that it doesn’t. While getting hopping mad over it would be too much, it’s fair to suggest that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny should have lifted Wainwright sooner.

That’s because, since the Cardinals still had not scored when Wainwright took the mound for the fifth inning, the game was basically over. It was 5-0, with 12 outs left to get for Boston. That fifth inning was of no consequence, and in October, there are always long relievers around (in this case, Shelby Miller).

Wainwright could have exited after four with 81 pitches on his ledger. For that matter, he could have left after three with just 69 pitches thrown. At those numbers, it would have been an easy call for the Cardinals to bring him back on three days’ rest for Game 4 in St. Louis, thereby leaving open the option of pitching him in a Game 7, too.

After 95 pitches, that’s a tougher call. Wainwright could do it, I’m sure, and it might well be that the Cardinals are planning on that anyway, but the 14 pitches he threw in the fifth inning Wednesday night make doing it more risky. I think, considering that Carlos Beltran was gone from the lineup, forcing Jon Jay into the fray against a left-handed pitcher, and that the Cardinals were down by so much with so little time left, as it were, Matheny needed to be more proactive about the rest of the Series.

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