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Amidst a struggling Cardinals team, Jack Flaherty is a bright spot

Jack Flaherty Cardinals

The Cardinals are reeling, to say the least. They have lost seven of their last 10 games and are 9-12 in the month of June. St. Louis currently sits third in the NL Central, 4.5 games behind the Brewers and 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. Despite all of that, Jack Flaherty is emerging as the pitcher everyone thinks he can become.

Flaherty has been very good in 2018, only allowing more than three earned runs in one start. In that start, he surrender six runs total, but only four were earned.

In four starts in the month of June, Flaherty is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA over 23.1 innings. He has struck out 32 and walked just seven, while only giving up 14 hits.

Friday night

Flaherty may have had his best start of the season Friday night against the Brewers, only rivaled by a start he made against the Phillies on May 20.

On Friday, Flaherty was lights out. Milwaukee’s bats just couldn’t figure him out as he cruised through seven innings. He struck out 13 batters on the night and carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning.

Unfortunately, Flaherty made one mistake to Jesus Aguilar, who deposited the 83 mph slider over the left-center field fence. It was not necessarily a bad pitch, as Aguilar had to reach to get the barrel on it, but it cost Flaherty a shot at the win and tied the game in the seventh inning.

The Cardinals’ offense could not muster anymore than one run, despite some opportunities. Not to mention closer Bud Norris gave up another homer to Aguilar in the ninth to end the game.

Jack Flaherty’s final line was seven innings, one earned run, two walks and 13 strikeouts in a no-decision. He became the first Cardinal pitcher since Bob Gibson to have two 13-strikeout games in the same season. Gibson did it in 1968, 1970 and 1972.

Flaherty on the season

Although he did not get a win to go with his stellar performance on Friday, Flaherty remains 3-2 on the season. He also has a 2.50 ERA, which is the best in the rotation, though he does not have enough innings to qualify for the league leaders. His 13 strikeouts tied him for third on the team with 68 on the season, just three behind Michael Wacha and Miles Mikolas for the team lead.

Against the Central

One very important thing for a starting pitcher is pitching well in your own division. So far this season, Flaherty has done just that.

In six starts against NL Central opponents, he is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA. In 33 innings against the Central, he has 40 strikeouts to just 12 walks and has given up 24 hits.

Maybe most impressively, Flaherty has owned the first place Brewers. After Friday night’s game, he has 12 innings pitched against them in two starts this season. He has struck out 22 batters and only walked three. He has picked up no-decisions in both of those games.

Looking ahead

Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make his next start against the always dangerous Cleveland Indians next Wednesday. This will be his first career start against the Indians, but it will be his fifth start of the season at home. At Busch in 2018, Flaherty is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA. He has allowed 22 hits, six walks and struck out 37 over his 29 innings pitched in St. Louis.

Flaherty will look to feed off his momentum from his last outing and hope to get more than one run out of the offense when they take on Cleveland next week. The other guys in the rotation will have to step up too, though. If they don’t, the Cards could be in a big hole in the standings before Flaherty takes the mound again.

 

Featured image by Scott White, CBS Sports

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Cardinals get ready for home series with AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians • The Game Haus June 25, 2018 at 7:10 pm

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