(The Spread) – Could things get any worse for the St. Louis Cardinals? Not only has the team been unable to sign superstar Albert Pujols to a long-term deal, but now starting pitcher Adam Wainwright could miss the entire 2011 season.

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Wainwright suffered a serious arm injury in spring training and now Cardinals officials believe that he’ll need Tommy John surgery. If he does, he’ll miss the remainder of the season and St. Louis’ odds of winning a title take a dramatic hit.

Wainwright finished in the top three of the NL Cy Young balloting in each of the past two seasons and along with Chris Carpenter, he forms one of the best 1-2 punches in all of baseball. He flew back to St. Louis today for an MRI and an examination by club doctors, but the results are expected to show that he needs Tommy John surgery.

To prove how costly an injury it is, the Cardinals’ World Series odds have dropped significantly from this morning (when the news broke) to now. At the start of the day, oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com had St. Louis listed at 14/1 to win this year’s World Series. Now they’re 20/1.

The injury certainly opens the door for the Cincinnati Reds to repeat as NL Central champions, although they’re expected to get plenty of competition from a re-tooled Milwaukee Brewers team. Wainwright’s injury certainly makes things more interesting in the division.

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