If you're a batter stepping into the box against Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty right now, I just have one thing to say. Good luck.
We've seen flashes of brilliance from the 23-year-old throughout his career, but he's on another level right now.
Flaherty hasn't allowed a run in 23 innings. That's the second longest streak in the majors this season, and the longest by a Cardinals pitcher since Adam Wainwright went 25 straight scoreless in 2014.
Since his dazzling start against the Giants where he took a no-hitter into the seventh on July 7, Flaherty holds a minuscule 0.79 ERA, has 56 strikeouts in 45 innings and opposing batters are hitting just .142 against him.
Flaherty has also cut down on the home run ball that had been known to sting him earlier in the season. So far in July and August, Flaherty has only given up three home runs. He gave up nine in five June starts alone.
It's a bit depressing that Flaherty's record is only 6-6 on the season because his offense usually fails to show up in his starts, but right now you feel like the Cardinals only need a run or two to win any game he's on the bump.
This is the Jack Flaherty that we've all been waiting for.
This is the guy who looks like a sure fire option in a potential wild card game. For much of the year, I don't think fans would've had a quick pick for that potential scenario.
Another encouraging sign for Flaherty, is that he's doing his dominating against a lot of above average teams.
During this nice little July-August run, he's gone a combined 27 innings against the Giants, Astros, Cubs and Dodgers. All playoff contenders. In those 27 innings, he's yielded only three runs. That's an ERA of exactly 1.00.
Right now teams aren't only failing to score off Flaherty, they're having a hard time even getting their bats on his pitches.
Since the start of July, Flaherty is averaging 13.375 swinging strikes per game. In his 16 starts before that he was averaging 11.75.
Some of that might have to do with the effectiveness of his slider post all-star break, as MLB's Alex Fast broke down on Twitter.
We've seen the mentality Jack Flaherty brings to the mound on a nightly basis, regardless of if he has his best stuff or not. The guy is a bulldog. He wants to embarrass the opposing hitters. That's the mindset you want from an ace.
Now that his 2019 stuff is back on the level we knew it could be, he's a force to be reckoned with.
Good luck to the rest of the National League for the last month and a half of the season.
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