Miles Mikolas is turning the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation into a strength.
Miles Mikolas is looking a lot like the Miles Mikolas who won 18 games in 2019 — and that could be a complete gamechanger for a St. Louis Cardinals team that has won 11 straight games.
In his last two starts, Mikolas has thrown 12.2 innings and allowed only two runs and seven hits while walking only two batters. His latest start, a seven inning appearance against the Milwaukee Brewers, was perhaps his best outing since 2019, a 10-2 victory in which he allowed only four hits while issuing zero walks. His pace was efficient and his stuff had Brewers hitters off balance all night.
Adam Wainwright has been brilliant in his age-40 season. Jon Lester and J.A. Happ have been pleasant surprises since being acquired on July 30. Jack Flaherty is set to return Friday. But if this version of Mikolas is here to stay, the Cardinals rotation transforms into a strength and makes them an even more dangerous team headed into the postseason.
“Filled the zone up with three different pitches all night,” Bader said. “That is exactly what we needed.”
Mikolas, 33, retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced. 13 of his 21 outs came on ground balls. He was aggressive and attacked hitters all game, telling reporters after the game that he pitched like the “old me, getting two strikes on guys and then not getting a strikeout, just getting my ground balls to short.”
It has earned him a playoff roster spot when it was uncertain whether he’d even pitch this season after numerous setbacks following elbow/shoulder injuries. His pitching style plays into the Cardinals’ biggest strength, with their defense easily ranking first in baseball with 83 DRS, and it has also helped Lester and Happ pitch meaningfully better than they did with the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins.
Mikolas, however, presents considerably more upside than Lester and Happ. Perhaps he does not pitch at *this* level going forward, but if he pitches anywhere close to it, an already dangerous Cardinals team becomes infinitely more dangerous.