Jack Flaherty failed to register five innings in a start for the first time since the All-Star Break during Wednesday’s 7-3 loss in Atlanta, but he’s not tired and he wants to make that abundantly clear.
“I don’t know how many times I have to say that I feel great,” the rookie said after the game. “I just didn’t execute when it came down to it. There’s no tired or nothing. There’s no time to be tired right now.”
Being the gamer Flaherty is, his frustration at questions regarding his September stamina is fair, but so are said questions with his having tossed 174 2/3 innings for a career-high this season. He’s human, baseball players get tired after 162 games, etc..But Flaherty is being honest when he says he’s fine according to our Cards insider, MLB.com’s Jen Langosch.
“There might be a hint of fatigue, but I’m not overly concerned about it and I don’t think it’s a level of fatigue that’s any more abnormal than what most pitchers feel in September,” Langosch recently told ‘The Bernie Miklasz Show.’
“I haven’t really seen a lot of indicators from Jack Flaherty that would suggest he is fatiguing more than he should be,” she added. “The Cardinals have been very intentional about watching his workload. They built in those extra days of rest in September and I think that sets up Jack very well.
“We’re seeing the velocity is fine. The command, except for a little blip yesterday, has been fine. Jack works very hard and takes a lot of pride in getting himself physically ready for the long six-month season.”
While Flaherty may be of sound physical strength, this might not be the case for Matt Carpenter, whose ‘Superman’ portrayal played a large, if not the largest, part in keep the Cardinals’ season afloat. Carp’s been struggling lately, though, to the tune of just an .083 average through his past 24 at-bats and a .241 OBP in that span.
“Talk about fatigue. I wonder if he’s hit a little bit of a wall,” Langosch said. “You think about how many weeks this season he was asked to carry this team on his back and he did so, and he really did so all that time without every taking any time off.
“He looks bad. He’s four for his last 34; 13 strikeouts in that stretch. We’ve seen him now get two days off in a five-day span, which is very rare,” she added. “Can the Cardinals win without Matt Carpenter? Sure, but are they set up for October without Matt Carpenter? I don’t think so. I don’t think they can go that deep without him really being a catalyst atop that lineup.
“Perhaps getting a day off yesterday aside from a pinch-hitting appearance, along with an off-day today, can set him up for a nice, strong sprint to the finish, but I do sense there’s a little bit of fatigue there setting in.”
You can read more excerpts from Jen’s 101 ESPN chat below, followed by the entire interview’s audio.
On whether the Cards could slot Paul DeJong into the No. 3 spot:
“I think it works. Part of that is because I don’t know who else the Cardinals can plug in there. Especially if they’re now committed to using Jose Martinez in the two-hole. They’ve really had a lot of trouble all year trying to figure out who to hit second and third on this team, but the thing with Paul, if you just take a quick glance at his numbers this year, they kind of scream a little bit of disappointment in terms of regression of where he was as a rookie.
“But his run production is there. He’s come up with a lot of timely hits. You look at the RBIs, which is not everything, but he’s driven in a lot of runs in the second half; among the most in the National League.
“I think back to what Paul brought in that three-hole last year for this team and it was a really good look. So, yeah, I think it could work and maybe if the Cardinals had some better options my opinion would be different, but at this point in time I don’t honestly think they do.”
On if the Cards will hold onto the second NL Wild Card spot:
“I think so…Especially when you watch the Rockies go and get swept by the Dodgers, who I believe are the team to beat in the NL. I think you can make an argument that almost all these teams are fairly equal, but the Dodgers are playing really good baseball this time of year and their roster is still the most talented in my eyes.
“But for the Rockies to not pull out a win hurts their position. The Cardinals have that 1 ½-game lead; I do think they’ll make that second wild card spot and I think they’ll be going to Milwaukee two Tuesdays from now for a very exciting wild card game.”