Flaherty Gets First Career Win, Strikes Out 13, Hicks Breaks Radar Gun, Carp & O’Neill Pace Offense In 5-1 Win
The Phillies would leave St. Louis with a big taste of the Cardinals future stars, splitting the four-game set as Jack Flaherty made them look silly, continuously.
Let’s just put it mildly, Flaherty’s breaking stuff, both slider and curveball, were sensational. @stlcupofjoe & @cardinalsgifs tweeted out an amazing gif of Flaherty’s spiked curveball grip that you all need to see.
After striking out Herrera on a slider for his first strikeout of the afternoon, Flaherty turned to the fast stuff in the 2nd inning. Flaherty struck out the side (Santana, Alfaro, Altherr) in order with fastballs, Santana and Altherr looking.
Matt Carpenter (3-4, 2 doubles) is a topic of discussion from this game, pretty much all weekend to be honest. Carp has raised his batting average (.054) points since being at (.140) on 05/16 in Minnesota. In that stretch, Carp is (10/21, with 6 doubles, 3 RBI’s, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts), you could say he’s heating up. Carp had great swings all weekend long, making hard contact, taking swings to the other field, and bringing his double hitting swag back out.
Flaherty, in the midst of his 13 strikeout performance, also tallied his first career hit, a single to RF. Tim McCarver was very admit about Flaherty getting the baseball from his first career hit, calling it ridiculous. I’ll just stop there before I go on an unneeded rant.
After striking out Hernández for his fifth strikeout in 3.1 innings, Flaherty made his ONLY mistake of the game. Rhys Hoskins took the first pitch fastball from Flaherty deep for a solo HR, making it 1-0 Phillies. Flaherty walked his only batter this inning, two batters later, facing Carlos Santana. Flaherty stranded Santana on first, getting Alfaro to reach at a slider far off the plate. Alfaro would be the first of ten straight set down by Flaherty.
The Cardinals would grab the lead in the bottom half of the 4th, scoring two. O’Neill and Fowler started the inning off with a single and a walk to bring in Kolten Wong. Wong grounded out to second base, 4-3 on the play, but Fowler would make a heads up play on the bases to avoid the tag, staying out the double play. Santana would commit a throwing error, throwing the ball away on the return to second trying to get Fowler, allowing O’Neill to score. Fowler advanced to third on the play when it was all said and done and would come around on a Greg Garcia RBI single up the middle with the infield playing in.
Flaherty would pick up four more strikeouts in the 5th and 6th inning. All his pitches were working to their utmost capability today. The future is bright for the Cardinals rotation, and we should all cherish what’s in front of our eyes.
Tyler O’Neill, who struck out vs Nola his first at bat of the game, figured him out his next two at bats. Specifically, his at bat in the bottom of the 6th, his 2nd career HR to LCF. O’Neill would get a low changeup and poke it over the wall, swinging with essentially one arm. This was one of the most raw power cases I’ve ever seen before, how he snuck that over for a HR is beyond me. Fowler reached base after the HR, hitting an infield single into shallow RF. Dex swiped his 3rd base of the season, advancing to third on a Wong sac-bunt. Greg Garcia added his second RBI of the game, hitting a sac-fly to LF scoring Fowler, making it 4-1 Cardinals.
Flaherty’s seventh inning started where he left off, but it wouldn’t come easy. Flaherty battled with Herrera, throwing eight pitches before striking him out on the high heat. Santana and Alfaro would fly out to end the inning.
The Cardinals would get an insurance run with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, extending the lead to 5-1. Carpenter would kick things off with a double in the RCF gap, legging it out for the extra base. Cafecíto then displayed a perfect example of hitting, going with the low outside pitch to RF for his team leading 30th RBI. It looked like Cafe was swinging an oar.
Flaherty, at 106 pitches, would return to the mound to start the 8th inning, giving up his second hit of the game, a single to LF from Altherr. Flaherty didn’t bat an eye though, picking up back-to-back strikeouts on Franco and Kingery, ending his day with 13 strikeouts on 120 pitches. This was the first Cardinals pitcher to throw at least 120 pitches since, you guessed it, Lance “rubber arm” Lynn.
Jordan Hicks would close the door over the last 1.1 innings and it was phenomenal what we witnessed from the kid. I almost didn’t believe it at first, his at bat to Herrera in the 9th was mesmerizing. After allowing a leadoff walk to Hernández, Garcia and Wong would turn a sick double-play bringing in the Phillies CF. Hicks would throw four straight pitches that took everyone’s breath away, hitting: 104, 105, 104, & 105 mph, eventually striking Herrera out on a wild pitch, although Herrera would reach base on the strikeout. This, oddly enough, kept his on-base streak rolling, reaching 45 games now. Hicks got the final out of the game getting Alfaro to ground out to Wong, securing the 5-1 win and earning the Cardinals a series split.
Jack Flaherty, Tyler O’Neill, & Jordan Hicks being HUGE contributors in a major league game at the end of May is so damn exciting, the future is bright for this bunch.
The Cardinals (25-19) welcome their I-70 rivals, the Royals (14-32) to town for a three-game set starting Monday night. Miles Mikolas (5-0, 2.63) gets things started against Ian Kennedy (1-4, 4.98). First pitch 7:15 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 44 is 'in the books'
by Stew // @StewStilez