Jack Flaherty threw 81 pitches, each intended for outs, in six scoreless innings in the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 win over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, a spirited return to action, an emotional return to competition and a quick return to form.
Like his recovery, the rehabilitation of Jack Flaherty it was slow: the Cardinals were cautious about making every pitch he threw again go full-strength; It was deliberate, because the Cardinals wanted to make sure their precious 25-year-old avoided any risk of re-injury; And it had a purpose: The Cardinals put him through every phase aware of both the ace’s long-term future and his hunger to compete. And it was all for good reason.
In his first start since May 31 due to a left oblique injury, Jack Flaherty He eliminated the first extended absence of his career without a break: A broken bat flare in the first inning and a strong single on and off Paul DeJong’s glove in the sixth looked like the only bases he allowed on the night.
“It was a perfect outing for what we needed from Jack… It was fantastic, and we’re glad he’s back… Everyone has a little more bounce in their footsteps, ”said manager Mike Shildt.
By the time Yadier Molina caught an errant knuckle curveball at 76.2 mph from Flaherty and then caught Jarrod Dyson stealing with an 82.8 mph pitch to end the sixth, and transitively end Flaherty’s night, the right-hander had faced only one over the minimum as his 74-day absence ended.
Most revealing: when teammates from Flaherty They gave him a two-run lead, he gave them a six-pitch base in the fourth.
“It was amazing how strong he was the first time he came back after so long on a major league mound… It was all day. Our guys were getting some called strikes that were very well executed… He was in control. He was efficient and didn’t give us much. He didn’t make a lot of mistakes, “said Royals manager Mike Matheny, who was once the captain of Flaherty.
“I think competing with these guys, specifically… Competing is one thing, but being able to look outside and have Yadi put up signs. Before every hitter, I go up and acknowledge Goldy, and seeing him there and seeing those guys on the field, just a different feeling coming on the bench, being a part of it, seeing my name on the lineup. card and be able to compete with these guys. That was something I missed, “he said. Flaherty.
And the Cardinals missed out on winning. Before Friday, Flaherty released its latest pitch for St. Louis on May 31. The club’s precipitous decline in June came in concert. When Flaherty left the Cardinals, he led the majors in wins, two short of tying a franchise record set by Bob Gibson, the late Hall of Famer and one of his mentors. He owned a 2.90 ERA, en route to a season. All-star that he was leaving behind a shortened 2020 season that partly delayed his rise up the Major League Baseball leaderboards.
There is little time in the possibilities Flaherty for him hardware by the end of the year, which is already losing the Midsummer Classic without any blame other than his left oblique.
With information from MLB.com (Zachary Silver).