St. Louis Cardinals: Do they have an ace in the hole?

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ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 14: Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after giving up a two-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on September 14, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 14: Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after giving up a two-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on September 14, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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With the final series of the season upon us, the St. Louis Cardinals changed up their pitching order for the weekend. What changes were made?

Fresh off another dominant performance in Arizona, the St. Louis Cardinals have realigned their starting rotation in the event they need ace, Jack Flaherty, to finish the job Sunday in St. Louis as the Chicago Cubs come to town one last time in 2019.

The Cardinals announced Thursday that Dakota Hudson would get the ball for the series opener Friday night, followed by Adam Wainwright on the bump Saturday, and left the door open for perhaps the young Flaherty to dazzle us one more time in the regular season.

For quite a while now, Mike Shildt has had his starting pitching rotation mapped out through the last game of the regular season Sunday. That was until a speed bump in Arizona had left the door open for the Milwaukee Brewers to snatch a second straight division crown.

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After his dominant eight seven-inning shutout, in which he took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, Jack Flaherty thought that his work in the regular season was finished. And, it still very well could be. However, a tweet from Jim Hayes Thursday night showed that the Cardinals have not committed to the fact that their best arm of the second half might not pitch again until October.

Rookie Dakota Hudson will aim to try and get the Redbirds on the right track again Friday night against the visiting Chicago Cubs, followed by gritty vet Adam Wainwright on Saturday. If all goes according to plan, the Cardinals will pop champagne that night. But, if it doesn’t- Flaherty will be waiting for the ball and the chance to propel his team to their first NL Central crown in four years.

There is no doubt in the Cardinal clubhouse, in the Brewer clubhouse, or any National League clubhouse that Flaherty is the Cardinal’s best chance to win a game, and Shildt should not think twice about using him Sunday if the game does, in fact, end up deciding who takes the division.

However, there is a downside to Flaherty being used on Sunday: He can’t pitch game one of the NLDS, or the Wild Card game if something were to go wrong. A Sunday start for Flaherty would mean he wouldn’t be available on regular rest until game 2. Not the end of the world, but all of Cardinal Nation would appreciate a good start against the Braves.

Next. Does Tommy Edman reset the future at third base?. dark

While lots of Cardinal fans fear a second straight September collapse is imminent, Shildt and his coaching staff have ensured that if game 162 matters, they have an ace in the hole ready to go take care of business.

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