A near no-hitter on Tuesday underscores that St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas is one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Through 8.2 innings on Tuesday, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas held the Pittsburgh Pirates hitless. Then with one swing of the bat, with two strikes, Cal Mitchell drove a ball over the outstretched arm of Harrison Bader in center field.
Just like that, the no-hitter was gone. But Mikolas’ dominance was unquestioned – and through 13 games, he has established himself as not just the best Cardinals starting pitcher, but arguably one of the best in baseball.
Mikolas, 33, has posted a 2.62 ERA and 66/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82.1 innings. Those numbers are actually better than when he won 18 games in 2018, where he posted a 2.83 ERA and 146/29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 200.2 innings. And his performance has largely kept a Cardinals rotation together when it was without its ace, Jack Flaherty, who is set to make his return on Wednesday.
But even with Flaherty back, Mikolas might be the Cardinals’ defacto ace. He’s been that good. And a unit that was largely considered a weakness entering this season, even after signing Steven Matz, now looks like it can be a strength. Flaherty is finally healthy. Adam Wainwright is, well, Adam Wainwright. Mikolas has been dominant. Dakota Hudson has been a pleasant surprise. Matz should be better than he has been once he returns.
Mikolas’ 0.97 WHIP ranks 12th in baseball. His 1.9 WAR ranks 19th. His 82.1 innings pitched ranks second. He will never be an elite strikeout pitcher – it’s just not what he does – but when he’s on, he commands the strike zone and gives hitters little to work with as evidenced by his ERA that ranks 14th in baseball.
Most importantly for Mikolas: he’s finally healthy. He fought through numerous injuries after his 18-win season that threatened his career. Now, he’s back and better than ever, and as Tuesday’s near no-hitter underscored, can now be put in the conversation as one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.