Add your company website/link
to this blog page for only $40 Purchase now!Continue
FutureStarrJack Flaherty Walks 7 But Stays Hitless in Cardinals' Win
On Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium, it seemed like everything was going awry. Yet Jack Flaherty persevered through five innings without giving up a hit to help the St. Louis Cardinals secure their first victory of the season.
The right-handed pitcher walked seven batters while throwing five no-hit innings, giving him the win as the Cards held on for a 4-1 victory against Toronto.
Flaherty walked seven batters but also struck out four, as the Cardinals came away with a 2-0 victory over Milwaukee. This win served as evidence that their starting pitching is on fire.
Flaherty has made progress this season despite his slow start, and the Cardinals plan to keep him in their rotation as they strive for their first championship in 2022. But before doing so, they need to be cautious not to use him as an opening day starter.
On Friday night, Flaherty made his most recent start and managed to walk five of the Blue Jays' first eight batters while keeping them off base. He retired George Springer with a flyout, Alex Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Aaron Varsho all walked in the first inning.
After the first inning, Flaherty showed some signs of fatigue by walking three of the next four batters in the second. Nonetheless, he managed to stay in for the remainder of the game, retiring the Blue Jays in order in each inning thereafter.
One thing the Cardinals will be watching closely is how much run support Flaherty receives. He already leads the majors in run support per nine innings pitched this season and has seen plenty of it during each of his last three starts.
The Cardinals boast a formidable lineup and starting pitching staff, so they must be wary not to allow too many runs in Game 3 of their NLDS series against the Nationals on Saturday night. It will be up to Jack Flaherty to keep the Cards off the edge.
In his first playoff start since 2018, Flaherty pitched a no-hitter against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS, but his performance wasn't quite what they had hoped for. He allowed three runs over seven innings which bodes ill for his future prospects. Thankfully, however, the Cardinals aren't counting on him to be an ace throughout these playoffs so they have some leeway to determine what role best suits him going forward.
Jack Flaherty is a legitimate contender for the National League Cy Young Award in October due to his improved pitch mix since the All-Star break. Prior to that, his strikeout rate looked fairly consistent and had little variance.
However, in the second half of his career Flaherty has emerged as baseball's most dominant starter. His ERA has dropped to 1.05 and strikeout rate has gone up to 33 percent. Despite these improvements in Flaherty's stats, however, his fantasy value still falls short of his actual numbers.
His success has been due largely to the slider, a great pitch in and of itself but also an effective deception tool when combined with his fastball. The pitch has slight horizontal movement and late drop as it approaches the plate but it's especially potent when combined with his fastball.
To make the pitch effective, Flaherty must command it and place it precisely where he wants. Throughout his professional career, he's made sure his release points for both four-seam fastballs and sliders are similar so they can be thrown at the same location on the plate, encouraging hitters to swing and miss with this pitch more frequently.
This deception on both of his most frequent pitches has enabled Flaherty to blossom into one of baseball's top pitchers. His slider has been responsible for 19 of his 36 strikeouts this season, holding opponents to an on-base average of just.221. Along with his fastball, this pitch combination has been key in Flaherty's success this year.
On Saturday, Jack Flaherty didn't have his best game, but he still managed to go hitless in the Cardinals' win over the Blue Jays. Despite walking seven batters in four innings, it wasn't enough for him to allow a hit and keep St Louis half a game ahead of second-place Milwaukee in NL Central.
On one hand, Flaherty was able to make adjustments in his pitches that ultimately improved his performance. He reduced fastball usage by 23% when facing off against 2-0 or 3-0 counts while increasing sinker and slider usage.
He also reduced his fastball whiff rate in counts 2-0 and 3-0 by 47%, which is an impressive improvement. Furthermore, none of the pitches he threw were hit hard - another encouraging sign.
However, he had two misplayed bounces that got hitters out of the count which he had to rectify in the third and fourth inning. In the third, Jose Altuve hit a hard grounder to him; shortly thereafter in the fourth, Juniel Querecuto hit a comebacker line drive to center field that scored two runs for him.
In the fifth inning, he allowed Carlos Gomez's hard single to shallow left field and Tyler Helsley's inning-ending double play.
He made a few other errors, too, but none of them were enough to derail his first start of the season. Ultimately, he finished with a 3.36 ERA and struck out nine in six innings - marking only his fourth time ever recording at least nine strikeouts and allowing just one earned run during his opening start of the year.
Flaherty was unlike many pitchers who have become used to pitching at such high speeds that they become vulnerable to being hit, as he was able to control his emotions during the game and throw the first complete game of his career. That was an encouraging sign as the Cardinals' win against the Astros was a much-deserved triumph after several frustrating losses had left them on the brink of postseason contention.
One of Flaherty's greatest strengths is his versatility; he can rely on a combination of three pitches in his arsenal. On Wednesday, he threw a slider and fastball but his most effective pitch was likely the curveball.
It may look intimidating, but if you can master the curveball, it can be a devastating bat-misser. A pitcher needs to consistently land their curveball where they want it in order for it to have any impact on hitters.
A good curveball should begin high or even in the top of the strike zone and break rapidly as it approaches the plate. It should cause panic among opposing batters as it gets closer, giving them time to prepare for what comes next.
Flaherty has the ability to throw a curveball, but he needs to find the correct release point and spin on it in order to make it an effective bat-misser. Furthermore, he must learn how to manage his emotions so they don't lead him into making costly errors.
In any event, he has a great chance to become an MLB starter in the near future. His delivery and frame suggest he is capable of handling the position, while his raw stuff suggests he could develop into an innings-consuming mid-rotation arm.
In the fourth inning, Flaherty turned to an option he introduced a few years back to help pitchers through extended spells of high pitch counts: the changeup. And it worked perfectly.
Flaherty's changeup is one of his top pitches, producing swings and misses at a similar rate to some of the game's best. That's great news for fans!
But the changeup lacks much movement, which means hitters often take it into the middle of the plate. Additionally, its late drop as it approaches makes hitting it difficult.
Flaherty has an excellent feel for a slider, but he needs to refine it with more spin and tilt in order to get it into the strike zone. Furthermore, he must learn how to throw the breaking ball consistently.
Flaherty's slider is his second most used pitch and an effective one. His command of this pitch and consistent release points across all pitches add to their effectiveness.
His slider is similar to Verlander's and it induces pop ups at an impressive 14.7% rate. Additionally, it's an effective pitch for controlling contact authority; ranking 3rd in Adjusted Liner Contact Score and 4th in Adjusted Grounder Contact Score.
He is adept at getting his fastball to extend, which has been a key factor in his success. Additionally, it's his most reliable and hardest-throwing pitch.