Bob Gibson was so great that baseball lowered the mound after his 1968 season, where he gave up just 1.12 earned runs a game and hurled 13 complete game shutouts. The Black Ace was even better in clutch playoff moments, often pitching complete games and carrying his offensively-challenged team to victory.
MLBbro future phenoms Triston McKenzie and Josiah Gray (2–2, 5.85 ERA, 69 SO) will be making their final starts of a 2021 season that saw McKenzie (5–8, 4.81 ERA, 134 SO) show flashes of future dominance. Gray’s trade from the Dodgers gives him a vital role in the Washington Nationals rotation in 2022.
St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty has dealt with numerous injuries that have sidelined him this season.
While this wasn’t the season he envisioned, he can still make an impact for the Cardinals.
Flaherty has missed almost a month with a shoulder strain. But he will be back on the mound sooner than later.
This week, he threw against some of his teammates during a practice and went through some fielding drills.
While he was on the mound, he didn’t show any signs of any pain, which is exactly what you want to see from him.
Coming into the 2021 season, Flaherty was the talk of the town in St. Louis, and when the season started he was dominant on the mound.
On The MLBBro Show Podcast week 4’s Black Ace ♠️ report @FANalyst1 is shouting out @Cardinals Jack Flaherty and thinks he might be a Cy Young Winner. Check out https://t.co/d5pfLsCroD for the full episode and comment below to let us know what you think. @Jack9Flaherty #STLFLY pic.twitter.com/L7E4CSlfMq
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 19, 2021
Going into May he had an 8-1 record and was on pace for a 20-win season.
But a torn oblique forced him to miss six weeks. After returning from the oblique injury he only appeared in three games finishing with a 1-1 record before going down with the shoulder injury.
Jack Flaherty, 94mph Paint. 🖌️🎨 pic.twitter.com/tG7M4qeWU0
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 14, 2021
On the season he has a 9-2 record through 14 starts with a 3.08 ERA.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt is excited to have Flaherty back, but wants to make sure the team does not rush his return.
“I think we’ll take it as we go,” Shildt told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Right now we want to make sure he recovers from it, and then we’ll just evaluate from there as far as what the volume can look like and then what the role (is). We’re excited to have Jack and the opportunity to have him back in whatever capacity it looks like.”
Look, if he wasn’t plagued with those injuries this season, Flaherty would be one of the top pitchers in the game right now.
Our MLBbro was shutting teams down out there when he was on the mound and put the Cardinals in a position to win games.
Unfortunately, injuries are part of the game and Flaherty could not get away from them this season.
But his return is near and in perfect time because the Cardinals have won 11 games in a row and are 4.5 games up on Cincinnati for the second NL Wild Card slot with about 10 games left in the season. A golden arm of Flaherty’s ilk will certainly be a big help.
It looks like his return will come Friday as Shildt announced that Flaherty will start in the second game of a doubleheader.
Jack’s back, take 2.
Jack Flaherty will start Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader vs the Cubs, Mike Shildt says.
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) September 22, 2021
After he had his outing throwing against his teammates, Flaherty kept it simple on how he felt.
“Feel great. We have to see what’s next,” he said.
Flaherty is ready to help his team make a playoff push and wants to show everyone that he still has that dominating stuff in his arsenal.
Black Ace Ferguson Jenkins won 20 games an amazing seven times and collected a total of 284 for his illustrious career. Even at the age of 78, he’s influencing the next generation of baseball players. Jenkins Tweeted: “I had to stop and show this little guy the 2-Seamer!“
Triston McKenzie continued his stellar return from injury as his Cleveland Guardians took game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins (3-1).
McKenzie dominated on the mound as he had seven strikeouts — three of which came against fellow MLBbro Byron Buxton — while giving up three hits and one walk.
It was the Brooklyn-born rookie’s fifth straight appearance of six innings or more where he allowed one run or less. He’s now retired 96 out of the last 112 batters he has faced.
Today, @T_eazy24 became The first pitcher in Guardians history with 6+ innings pitched and 3 or fewer hits allowed in 5 consecutive starts.
— Brandon L. Carr (@Carrpediem21) September 15, 2021
According to Elias Sports Bureau, this performance puts him in rarefied air, joining elder bro Dwight Gooden and three other rookies who too achieved such success.
— Brandon L. Carr (@Carrpediem21) September 15, 2021
McKenzie recently spent 10 days on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue, which was a little concerning after the lanky magician of the cowhide stint seemed lengthy.
Still, miraculously, time spent was minimal as he is an elite superstar on the horizon, and the numbers speak for itself.
During the recent streak of dominance, he collected 19 strikeouts in 15 total innings while only giving up three hits and one run.
But everything wasn’t all sunshine and roses for McKenzie earlier in the season. The 24-year-old made numerous trips to Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate for mechanical reasons. Still, those minor setbacks made for significant comebacks, and from the looks of it, a peripeteia is long gone.
“That was pretty much the sole purpose of me going down there (Triple-A), to figure out my control and figure out how to attack the strike zone.” He continued, “The past month in a half, past two months, has just been a culmination of all the work that was put in.”
Guardians manager DeMarlo Hale added on the situation, “When he needs to throw a strike, he’s been able to put multiple pitches that he has in the strike zone.”
McKenzie deserves all props received thus far, showing why he no longer belongs in the minors. He is holding up to his end of the bargain, and the numbers indicate so as well.
In 22 games played, “sticks” has an earned run average of 4.28 with a WHIP of .1.06. He is holding batters to a .171 average with 127 strikeouts under his belt.
After an up & down season, he proves the Guardians made the right choice by selecting him 42nd overall selection in the first round of the 2015 amateur draft, where he signed a 2.3-million-dollar deal.
At this rate, by season’s end, financial stability should be amassed.
Look for McKenzie to fan the flames on September 20th as he takes the mound against the Kansas City Royals in game two of a home doubleheader at Progressive Field. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m