Behind Jack Flaherty, Cards look to keep rolling over Pirates

MLB

Jack Flaherty will bid for his eighth consecutive victory when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.

Flaherty (7-0, 2.47 ERA) has thrown 13 scoreless innings in his last two starts while allowing just seven hits. The right-hander won a 2-0 pitching duel against Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes in his last start.

“Jack’s not going to back down from anybody,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.

Flaherty has allowed one earned run or fewer in five of eight starts this season while proving that his 2019 finish (7-2 with a 0.91 ERA in his last 15 starts) was not a fluke.

“I don’t have to prove anything to anybody else,” Flaherty said. “I do everything for my own reasons and for the people in my corner. All I try to do is execute and let everything else speak for itself.”

Flaherty won his previous start against the Pirates on May 1 in Pittsburgh. He struck out nine batters in six innings but allowed three runs on six hits and two walks as the Cardinals cruised to a 12-5 victory.

He is 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 10 career starts against the Pirates. Flaherty has fared well against Adam Frazier (4-for-22, six strikeouts), Bryan Reynolds (2-for-15) and Jacob Stallings (1-for-5).

But Stallings is questionable for the game with a leg contusion sustained on a foul ball. He sat out Tuesday’s game in favor of Michael Perez.

“I just felt it was better to give him a little bit of a blow so he can continue to work through the soreness,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said Tuesday. “He took a pretty good shot.”

The Pirates will start right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-4, 5.97) in the second half of this two-game series at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won the opener 5-2 Tuesday.

Cahill was on the wrong side of that 12-5 game on May 1. The Cardinals got to him for five runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

He is 1-4 with a 4.53 ERA in 15 career appearances against the Cardinals, including seven starts. He has struggled against Matt Carpenter (6-for-13, two doubles, RBI), Paul Goldschmidt (4-for-6, double, four RBIs), Yadier Molina (4-for-13, three walks, homer, two RBIs) and Dylan Carlson (1-for-3, double).

Cahil, however, has yieldedl just three earned runs in 10 1/3 innings in his last two starts. He has improved his staying power by posting a lower on-base plus slugging percentage against (.426) the third time through an order than the first time (1.015).

The Cardinals don’t have outfielder Tyler O’Neill for this series. He went on the 10-day injured list with a fractured finger on his left hand that he sustained on Sunday.

Justin Williams will see most of the work in left field in his absence. John Nogowski arrived from Triple-A Memphis to fill a bench role.

“It’s tough,” Shildt said Tuesday. “(O’Neill) has swung the bat well, played well defensively, ran the bases well. He’s played as he is capable of. Excited for him, excited for us, not as excited that he’s going on the IL.”

–Field Level Media

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