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.
Mychal Givens is a strikeout master with the experience to help make the Reds serious postseason contenders.
The Cincinnati Reds carry themselves with more swagger than most teams in baseball and since acquiring Mychal Givens in July to help boost their bullpen, they have been flexing a lot harder.
Givens let his Reds teammates know exactly what he was about the first time he pitched in their road red uniforms. He struck out three straight Cubs in his debut and has been the best pitcher out of their bullpen since.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 29, 2021
Givens is currently tied for the team lead with eight saves on the season. He’s converted four consecutive opportunities and is eight for nine with Cincinnati.
Givens was drafted as a shortstop by the Orioles in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of Henry B. Plant High School in Tampa, Florida.
No matter which inning he pitches, Mychal Givens maintains the same mindset. pic.twitter.com/cVhxAbcyrq
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) September 11, 2021
He struggled his first few seasons in the Minors and in 2013 was asked to make a permanent switch to the mound. By the time 2015 came around, the move was appearing to pay off. Givens posted a 1.60 ERA with 54 strikeouts, 12 saves and a 3-1 record in 39.1 innings for the Bowie Baysox in Class AA.
Givens made his long-awaited Major League debut on June 24th of 2015 and after pitching a one-two-three inning, he was sent back down to the Baysox the next day. He would be brought back up about a month later and would finish the 2015 season with a 1.80 ERA in 22 games.
— Michael Augustine (@DigitalOpticals) May 7, 2019
Givens made Baltimore’s Opening Day roster in 2016 and would become the first pitcher in their team history to begin his career with seven straight wins as a reliever. In 62 appearances that year, he struck out 96 batters in 74.2 innings with a 3.13 ERA and an 8-2 record.
Givens got to live out every rookie’s dream of playing in the postseason during their first season and he proved the moment wasn’t too big for him. During the one game wild card play-in game between the Blue Jays and O’s that year Givens entered the game in the 8th inning. The score was tied and with runners on the corners he forced a double play and struck out three batters in 2.1 innings.
Mychal Givens gets Stephen Piscotty swinging at this ridiculous 85 mph Slider.
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) September 14, 2018
Givens spent time as a setup man but was given the keys to the Orioles closer job in 2019. In just 12 games in 2020, he had a 1.38 ERA before being traded to Colorado in late August of that year.
Givens pitched well for the Rockies this year with a 2.73 ERA and 34 strikeouts before being sent to his current home in the great state of Ohio.
On the season Givens has a 3-3 record, 2.85 ERA, 51 strikeouts in 47 innings and eight saves.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) October 8, 2019
Pitching is the biggest deficiency for Cincinnati. Givens has shown he has the ability to get outs late in games and come October, ultimately that is all that truly matters.
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!“