CINCINNATI – St. Louis Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright appears right on track for a big milestone in his sendoff season.

Wainwright picked up his second victory of the 2023 season, and his second within the past week, on Tuesday. He now stands at 197 career wins, three away from becoming just the fifth active pitcher with at least 200 victories.

“I’ve just been fortunate to play at this specific place for so long, and what a wonderful blessing that’s been,” said Wainwright last Thursday after his first of his back-to-back victories. “To be on any of those leaderboard lists in a storied franchise like St. Louis, doesn’t even make sense to me.”

Backed by some big and early Cardinals rallies, Wainwright stretched out 5.2 innings and helped St. Louis even up a four-game road series with the Cincinnati Reds. Given his rough history against the NL Central foe (5.53 ERA in 35 starts) and at the Great American Ballpark (5.83 ERA in 21 starts), he truly had to battle for his latest dub.

Wainwright allowed five runs, but ultimately came out on top after navigating through some tricky innings and a defense sans Nolan Arenado for most of the night. It was Wainwright’s first win in Cincinnati since 2019.

“Every year, I leave here saying, this is the devil’s lair again,” said Wainwright jokingly after Tuesday’s win. “Today, I went into going, ‘You know what? I’ve had a bad history here, but today’s a new day.’ I came in with such a positive attitude, and it’s still the devil’s lair.”

“Walking off the field today, I was looking at the third base coach, he was looking at me, and I just started laughing,” Wainwright continued. “What am I supposed to do, man?”

With Tuesday’s win, Wainwright is now just three away from 200 and becoming the third player to win that many games in a Cardinals uniform.

“People keep saying, ‘Four more!’ But I got to ask those people, if I end the season with [just] five wins, are you going to be happy about that?,” said Wainwright last week. “I understand what they’re saying, and I agree, that’s a great jumping off point.”

The 41-year-old has reiterated throughout the season that second all-time on the Cardinals list would be a big honor. Jesse Haines currently is second in franchise history with 210 wins. Bob Gibson is first with 251 wins.

Among active MLB pitchers, only Justin Verlander (246), Zack Greinke (224), Max Scherzer (204) and Clayton Kershaw (203) have more wins than Wainwright. For a long time, a 300-win career was seen as Hall of Fame worthy, but that hasn’t been done since Randy Johnson in 2009.

Wainwright’s next start will come either Sunday in Cleveland or on Memorial Day at home against Kansas City. After that, he will most likely be lined up to start on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If he can win both of those, and stay in a normal routine for starters, he could hypothetically go for win No. 200 against the same Cincinnati Reds team in early-June.