St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright took to his Twitter account on Wednesday to provide fans with an unusually detailed explanation for his late-season struggles. Wainwright authored a five-tweet thread that touched on the mechanical deficiencies he experienced after being hit with a comebacker in late August.

"[After] that game my stride length got shorter by almost a foot. Timing was thrown," Wainwright tweeted. He added in another message that he "didn't stay diligent enough with my film work to catch it immediately," and that "what I was attributing to dead arm was an awful delivery." Wainwright closed his thread by apologizing to his fans and teammates and stating, "I owed an explanation ... so there you go."

It can be debated whether Wainwright owed an explanation to anyone outside of the Cardinals clubhouse for his late-season performance. What's inarguable is that his thread provides rare insight into the challenges of pitching and staying consistent. It just goes to show how one slight alteration in the kinetic chain can mess up the whole operation.

Wainwright, for those wondering, saw his seasonal ERA balloon from 3.09 entering September to 3.71 over the course of six starts after taking the ball to the knee. He threw 28⅔ innings during that stretch, surrendering 44 hits, 23 runs (all earned, resulting in a 7.22 ERA), and 11 walks. He mustered just 13 strikeouts.

Not that anyone should question Wainwright's claim about his mechanics -- it reasons that he'd know better than anyone, and there's no reason for him to lie -- but the data backs up his assertion.

While Wainwright's stride data isn't publicly available, TruMedia does track a statistic called "extension" that measures the distance from the pitching rubber to the pitcher's release point. It's not the same thing, but it can serve as a fine proxy when there's no real alternative. Anyway, below you'll see a table that lists the average extension Wainwright had on his fastballs for each month:

MonthFastballs thrownExtension (ft)






















Sure enough, Wainwright's release point went from a consistent range to a fair amount shorter after the end of August. That's clearly not a coincidence.

It's worth noting that there is one item of business Wainwright did not address in his thread: his plans for next season. Given that he's 41 years old and seems primed for a post-playing career in broadcasting, it would stand to reason that he might hang up his cleats alongside teammates Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols. If that decision has been made, he's not saying -- at least not yet. Wainwright did tell Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the Cardinals were eliminated from the playoffs that "we should know pretty soon if something happens … if not, then it's been a good run."

Who knows, Wainwright might even tweet an explanation one day about whatever he decides to do.