How is having a firey Willson Contreras going for the Cardinals?
Contreras has always been known as the guy you didn't want to play against. Now, that he's on the Cardinals, he's pretty great to watch, as he has an infectious passion that the team is learning to love.
He's all about changing the style of the Cardinals' pitching staff. This week he told reporters the pitching staff has been too "nice" this season. He wants the pitchers to get mean. A little mean, anyway. His point is that the pitching staff is not keeping hitters on their toes. They aren't mixing up their pitches. They seem to be lulling hitters into waiting for a mistake. Unfortunately, hitters have been capitalizing on those mistakes.
It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals' pitching staff takes Contreras's advice. Will they get a little mean? Will they do more to not lull the batters into patience to pounce? Contreras has a point; hopefully, the Cardinals will pounce on his advice.
Was Sunday's win a positive turn for Jack Flaherty's season?
While he had his moments, it was great to see the Flaherty we have been hoping to see since June 2021, when he went down with an oblique injury and struggled to return to form.
Flaherty is 2-2 on the season and earned his first quality start, going six innings on Sunday. He gave up five hits, including a home run to Jarred Kelenic. He allowed three walks and struck out nine batters. The most impressive statistic of the afternoon was that he induced 23 swings and misses. Flaherty used a steady mix of sliders and cutters, throwing batters off with a knuckle curve and a fastball.
This was a great performance for Flaherty to build on.
Flaherty received relief from Genesis Cabrera, Ryan Helsley, and Giovanny Gallegos. Cabrera's outing was cut short due to a pitch timer violation call from Dan Iassogna. Manager Oli Marmol quickly removed Cabrera before he could get rattled by the situation, speaking to him more about what happened in the dugout. Cabrera did have one strikeout before he was removed. Helsley finished up the inning, going 1.2 innings of relief. He walked one and struck out two batters. Gallegos pitched an inning, striking out two batters and looking sharp.