Jack Flaherty vs. Mike Foltynewicz
Had the division been clinched earlier than Sunday, the Cardinals ace would have more than likely be the starter for Game 1. The Cardinals started to take a quick slide and the NL Central title came down to the last game of the season, in which Flaherty had to pitch to help guarantee the Redbirds the NL Central title.
Jack Flaherty had a very rough go of things to start the season, posting a 4.75 ERA around the July 7th mark. Something turned on for Flaherty though, and after a rough start against the Seattle Mariners; we wouldn’t see a bad version of Jack Flaherty at all for the rest of the season.
Flaherty posted a historic second half, totaling a 0.91 ERA after the All-Star Break; which was good for the third-best ERA EVER. Behind Hall of Famer Greg Maddux and 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.
Flaherty vaulted himself from being a mediocre starter in the rotation to one of the best pitchers in baseball, and found himself near the top of many rankings stat-wise, including having the highest WHIP in all of the NL. He will earn some Cy Young votes for sure.
The Braves will be sending 2018 All-Star Mike Foltynewicz to the mound for Game 2.
Foltynewicz enjoyed a career year in 2018, posting a 2.85 ERA while surpassing the 200 strikeout mark as well. He even finished eighth in the NL Cy Young race.
2019 has not been ideal for Folty though, he dealt with multiple injuries that sidelined him until mid-May and he couldn’t get going in the Majors after that, resulting in a demotion to AAA Gwinnett.
When the Cardinals return to Atlanta, keep in mind that the offense absolute murdered Folty during his last time against them, putting up 8 runs in less than three innings on him. He throws hard and has solid stuff but lacks the control he possessed from 2018; which has been a case for his regression.