Teams typically lean heavily on their younger arms early on in the exhibition slate before veteran pitchers increase their workloads closer to the start of the season, so it's not surprising that the 22-year-old Flaherty will garner the first start of the spring rather than the Cardinals' more established options. Flaherty may receive a token shot to audition for spot in the big-league rotation this spring, but Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright look like safe bets to win back-end rotation roles. Flaherty, who posted a 2.74 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 85.1 innings with Triple-A Memphis in 2017 before garnering a late-season promotion to the majors, is thus likely to open the upcoming campaign in the minors, though he may rank first in line to enter the St. Louis rotation in the event of an injury.
Flaherty (0-2) allowed four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five over five innings in a losing effort against the Brewers on Sunday.
Flaherty stumbled out of the gates, allowing four runs in the first inning. He settled in and gave up just three hits over his final four frames, but the damage was already done. This was a disappointing way to end the season, especially considering the Brewers were resting some of their heavy hitters. Flaherty, 21, is an intriguing prospect to watch, but it looks like he still needs more seasoning in the minor leagues.
Flaherty will start Sunday against the Brewers, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports.
Flaherty will get the nod in the finale as Carlos Martinez gets a head start on his offseason. It will be Flaherty's fifth career start at the big-league level. The 21-year-old has struggled to this point, but he was excellent at Triple-A Memphis before getting the call and looks like a potential mid-rotation starter in his peak years.
Flaherty will slide into a bullpen role for the rest of the 2017 season, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Flaherty struggled mightily during his previous start against the Reds on Tuesday, allowing two earned runs in just two innings of work off three hits and a walk. The top prospect will see time in a relief role for the last few weeks, while John is set to take his place in the rotation.
Flaherty went only two-plus innings in Tuesday's start against the Reds, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts. He didn't factor into the decision.
Manager Mike Matheny pinch hit for him in the top of the third, showing a distinct lack of faith in the rookie right-hander. Of course, Flaherty hasn't earned it, having posted a 6.46 ERA and 1.70 WHIP over his first four big-league starts -- a far cry from his impeccable work in the minors this season (2.18 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 8.9 K/9 in 25 starts split between Double-A and Triple-A). His future's bright, but it doesn't look like owners will get much of anything from Flaherty in what remains of this season even if he continues to hold a rotation spot.
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|2016||AFA-Palm Beach Cardinals||5||9||3.56||24||23||0||0||0||134.0||129||63||53||8||2||45||126|