Flaherty's second start of the season is slated for the Cardinals' home opener April 4, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Flaherty, who fired four scoreless, one-hit innings in a Grapefruit League win over the Marlins on Sunday, is slated to make his season debut as the Cardinals' starter in the second game of a season-opening four-game set versus the Brewers. That will line him up to start the first home opener of his career versus the Padres. The 23-year-old right-hander enjoyed a solid spring, complementing a 1-1 record with a 2.12 ERA and .183 BAA across 17.0 Grapefruit League frames.
Flaherty will start the second game of the season, March 29 against the Brewers, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. This was expected with Carlos Martinez (shoulder) on the mend and Miles Mikolas tabbed to start Opening Day. Flaherty has been stellar this spring, compiling a 2.77 ERA and 19:3 K:BB through 13 innings. Flaherty is also lined up to get the ball for the Cardinals' home opener against the Padres on April 4.
Flaherty struck out nine over four scoreless frames in Tuesday's Grapefruit League start against the Phillies. He gave up two hits and issued no walks in the outing. Flaherty showcased ace-like stuff in his second outing of the spring, retiring seven straight Phillies via strikeout at one point during the start. When he wasn't whiffing hitters, he was inducing weak contact, with a pair of singles from Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto representing the only damage against Flaherty. Though the Cardinals have already decided to go with Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, Flaherty's showing Tuesday might have helped him to clinch the No. 2 spot in the rotation to begin the season.
Flaherty will serve as the Cardinals' second pitcher in Saturday's exhibition opener versus the Marlins, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Miles Mikolas will get the starting nod, but both he and Flaherty are expected to cover around 40 pitches apiece as the Cardinals ease both hurlers into their first competitive action in 2019. The two pitchers likely represent the leading candidates to earn the Opening Day start, especially with one established rotation option (Carlos Martinez) already sidelined by a shoulder injury early in camp. Flaherty was excellent in his first year as a full-time starter for St. Louis in 2018, accruing a 3.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 10.8 K/9 over 28 outings.
Flaherty (8-9) allowed four earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out three across 2.2 innings to take the loss Sunday against the Cubs. Flaherty worked out of a jam in the first inning to keep the Cubs off the board, but wasn't so fortunate in the third inning when he allowed five consecutive batters to reach base. He ended the season with a 3.34 ERA and 1.11 WHIP despite allowing 12 earned runs across his last 12.2 innings. On a more positive note, he threw 182.2 innings between Triple-A Memphis and the major-league level, meaning there shouldn't be an impactful innings restriction in 2019 for 22-year-old.