Cardinals' Miles Mikolas has flipped the script on his season

In his last 6 starts, Mikolas has lowered his season ERA from 6.19 to 4.85 What is different from the beginning of the year to now and from last year to this year?
Pittsburgh Pirates v St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Pirates v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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The success of the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation hinged mostly on Miles Mikolas's season. We knew what to expect out of Sonny Gray and Kyle Gibson. Lance Lynn would be a bit of a wild card at times, but by and large, he would strike out batters and give the team a chance to win after 6 innings.

After Mikolas's 2023 season, there wasn't much hope that he would be able to be a bulk starter with high upside like he showed in 2018 and 2022. The slogan during the offseason for many fans was a desire for at least two pitchers better than Mikolas and Steven Matz. Fans had largely given up on the mustachioed menace.

The start to 2024 didn't go well for Miles. He gave up 5 runs in just 4.1 innings as the Cardinals' Opening Day starter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had two terrible outings in April where he failed to make it out of the 5th inning. His ERA has not been below 5.00 all year. The hopes for Mikolas to turn things around and pitch well in the back of the rotation were fading.

However, he has flipped the script in his last 6 outings. Dating back to May 12th, Mikolas has thrown at least 5 innings and given up 3 or fewer runs in each start. Most of the starts in which he gave up 3 runs featured one bad inning whereas the rest were great. On May 12th against the Milwaukee Brewers, Mikolas gave up 3 runs in the first inning and then held serve until he was pulled. He had one inning where he gave up 2 runs against the Cubs on May 25th. His only blip against the Phillies on May 31st was a 2-run home run by Brandon Marsh. He gave up two solo shots against the Astros, and that was all the damage he experienced.

Mikolas has been superb for the Cardinals in his last 6 starts, and he's been a steadying force for a rotation that has seen some ups and downs this year in the last month. His most recent start against the Pittsburgh Pirates featured him going 7 innings while striking out 6 walking 1, and giving up just 1 hit. He outdueled the pitching prodigy Paul Skenes.

These aren't easy teams he's been going up against either. He's faced division rivals in the Brewers and the Cubs along with the best team in baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies. The Astros have been the best team in baseball in recent memory, and the Red Sox are no easy feat this year either.