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Flaherty looks to fill a hole in his resumé — a win at Miller Park

Flaherty looks to fill a hole in his resumé — a win at Miller Park

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Milwaukee Brewers vs St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty walks off the field after he struggled in the sixth inning during a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Photo by David Carson,

Of all the places the Cardinals go during a regular season, the only place outside of Busch Stadium where Jack Flaherty has pitched more often in his career than Miller Park is, predictably, Wrigley Field.

His career ERA is higher at Wrigley (5.22) and the Cubs have a higher on-base percentage at their home against Flaherty than the Brewers do at their home, but there is something else glaring from the young righthander's resumé at the ballpark in the valley near Milwaukee.

He's yet to get a win there.

In five starts at the Brewers' screwtop ballpark, Flaherty is 0-2 with a 4.68 ERA. The Brewers have slugged .495 against him at one of the finest fields when it comes to hitting in the division. This is, after all, the place that Albert Pujols tossed a ball to himself and knocked it to the scoreboard just to show us he could, and Matt Holliday often raved about it as a hitter's ballpark because of the large, single-color batter's eye created by the center-field scoreboard.

Not that the Brewers have taken advantage of it this year.

The Cardinals have struggled to maintain any semblance of consistency with the offense, and yet the Cubs at Wrigley and the Brewers anywhere have had the same difficulty, arguably more. Of the bottom 10 teams in the majors when it comes slugging, the NL Central has half of them.


Put another way, all five teams in the National League Central rank 21st or lower when it comes to slugging percentage. This is the division that has Miller Park and Great American Small Park and the wind blowing out at Wrigley, and still there they are -- 21st, 22nd, 24th, 26th, and 30th when it comes to slugging percentage as a team.

The Cardinals are 24th, at .391.

The Brewers are 26th, at .380.

The results of those struggles was clear Monday in the doubleheader split between the two teams. Combined they managed to score eight runs in 14 innings. Half of those runs came in extra innings, where teams now have, by rule, a runner in scoring position to start every inning. It took the offense getting a goose for them to get a gander at runs.

Into this staring contest for offense enters Flaherty and his on-the-job strengthening and sharpening. His most recent start resembled the final start of spring training -- one where the pitches are there, the arm strength is there for 90 throws, and the efficiency is not. It was similar to how he spent the first half of 2019, before his game, as he says, "clicked."

If that's the case, then this start Tuesday night against the Brewers would fit with the timing of the clicking.

Where efficiency meets readiness and that combination meets results.

With the current schedule, the Cardinals face the Brewers eight more times. Flaherty will have two starts against them in that span. It's likely that those eight games will determine whether the Cardinals reach the playoffs -- or don't have to bother with that last week in quarantine to be ready for a bubble.

And that brings us to some pregame notes:

• Johan Oviedo is traveling to Milwaukee with plans of starting Game 2 Wednesday. He is driving. He will take a rapid test for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning and if he gets a negative he will be cleared to pitch with seven consecutive days without a positive test.

• John Gant went running with some of the other non-throw relievers today (Alex Reyes, Genesis Cabrera, because of use) and if his groin injury/soreness has subsided he could be ready to pitch Wednesday.

• Many of the Cardinals packed for the possibility that this road trip will leak right into their quarantine time for the postseason. That could mean what equates to a 50-day road trip.

• Mike Shidt did wear a batting practice cap during the game Monday. No one told him he wasn't wearing the game cap, he said.

Here are the lineups for Tuesday's single, nine-inning game at Miller:


1. Wong, 2B -- a late scratch, so here's the new lineup.

1. Edman, 3B

2. DeJong, SS

3. Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Ravelo, RF

5. B. Miller, DH

6. Molina, C

7. Carpenter, 3B

8. O'Neill, LF

9. Bader, CF

Starting pitcher: Flaherty RHP (3-1, 3.08 ERA)


1. Garcia, CF

2. Yelich, LF

3. Braun, RF

4. Vogelbach, DH

5. Hiura, 2B

6. Gyorko, 1B

7. Peterson, 3B

8. Arcia, SS

9. Narvaez, C

Starting pitcher: Brett Anderson LHP (2-3, 4.64 ERA)

Check back throughout the evening here at Cardinal Beat and for coverage from Miller Park. In a rookie move, the cheese curds were left behind at the hotel room and thus there will be less snacking than planned. But there will be more reason to meet deadline since there will be curds awaiting as a midnight delicacy.   


Derrick Goold

@dgoold on Twitter



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