He’s back. The St. Louis Cardinals activated our ace Jack Flaherty on Monday, who has been on the 60 day Injured list with a right shoulder strain that’s affected him all season. In his 1st start back against the Nationals he struck out 6 batters in 5 innings of work only allowing 1 run (vintage Flaherty material). With his return this allows the Cardinals to fill two huge holes that the team had left.
Hole one- the last rotation spot is taken care of.
Before Jflare’s return the Cardinals had a good 1-4 in the rotation with Adam Wainwright, Miles Milokas, Jordan Montgomery, and José Quintana. However the 5th rotation spot belonged to Dakota Hudson who was sporting a 4.43 ERA in 24 starts along with only striking out 72 batters and walking 56 in 126 innings of work. To put it nicely, Dakota was a bag of rocks and constantly got shelled every time he started. Flaherty’s return allows Dakota too be sent down to Memphis to hopefully figure out his command again before the postseason starts where he could be utilized as a long reliever if needed however I see Hudson staying in Triple A unless a injury happens to one of our starting 5.
The 2nd problem this addresses is giving the bullpen rest. Comparing Flaherty to Hudson, Flaherty has a track record of going 6 plus innings per start when this season the majority of Dak’s starts went a mere 4-5 innings. This allows our pen to get much needed rest in preparation for the playoffs. Also with a rotation of Wainwright, Montgomery, Milokas, Quintana and Flaherty this gives our manager Oli Marmol options in which 4 he will want to use in his rotation for the playoffs. Keep in mind in the upcoming weeks we get Steven Matz back for the bullpen which will be our finishing piece for a playoff run. This allows someone like a Quintana or a Wainwright to come out of the pen for multiple innings of relief in a playoff game if one of our starters were to get knocked out of the game early.
With Jack making his long awaited return he has the rest of the month to continue to build his arm up and see major league talent before the playoffs hit, if he isn’t sharp right away he has 4-5 starts to get his groove down before his pitching against teams like the Dodgers or Mets or Phillies.
The Cardinals devil magic has already began and by getting Jack back it makes the Cardinals much scarier for a long playoff run.