After a huge Game 1 win for the St. Louis Cardinals, another win behind Jack Flaherty could be great. What would it mean for the rest of the series?
It is a general rule to follow that if in a five-game series, the road team at the beginning of the series can split the first two games before coming back home, they are in a good spot. That was my thought process as the St. Louis Cardinals traveled to Atlanta to take on the Braves in the NLDS and I don’t think I was alone. With Jack Flaherty pitching Sunday and not being able to pitch until Game 2, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see the Cardinals drop Game 1.
Not to act like Flaherty in Game 2 is automatic, but we as Cardinals fans are right to be confident in Flaherty.
Now that the Cardinals came out swinging and (no matter how rough) won Game 1, they are in an amazing spot. In their last 23 postseason series, the Cardinals are 18-5 when they take the first game. Even better, now that Flaherty is going today, the Braves should be scared of going back to St. Louis down 0-2 in the series.
Why is Flaherty’s game today almost automatic?
Those stats were during the regular season, so there’s no promise that he will translate it, but we have sen that Flaherty can step up in big situations too.
In the first game of what would be the four-game sweep of the Cubs in Chicago, Flaherty pitched 8.0 innings of one-run ball in what was the biggest start of the year for him at that time. This last Sunday, Flaherty took the ball in a game the Cardinals almost had to win and threw 7.0 innings allowing just three total base runners and leading the Cardinals to an NL Central title.
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Flaherty has proven he can step up in the biggest moments of the season and there’s no reason to suggest the Cardinals ace won’t do it again today in the biggest game of the NLDS thus far.
Opposing Flaherty is the Braves’ Mike Foltynewicz. Foltynewicz did not have a great year with a 4.97 FIP and was even sent down to AAA for some time. He has just a 1.80 ERA over his last four starts, but as we saw above, Flaherty has still been better.
If the Cardinals end up dropping this game, it would first go to show how wild and random the playoffs can be, but also you can’t be mad because the Cardinals still are going back home with a split in Atlanta. Now, I would certainly put my money on Flaherty shutting down the dangerous Braves lineup, but the Game 1 win takes some pressure off.
Jack Flaherty’s first postseason start will be a great moment for him and a huge moment for the team. If they go back to St. Louis with a two-game lead in the series, it’s all but over for the Braves. If they don’t it’s still nothing to sweat. All we can hope for is Flaherty’s best today.