For the most part “Black Jack” Flaherty looked more like the ace of the young Baltimore Orioles pitching staff in his first start for the baby birds less than 48 hours after his trade from the St. Louis Cardinals.
After waiting to the very late stages of 2023 MLB trade deadline Flaherty was traded for infielder Cesar Prieto, left-hander Drew Rom and right-hander Zack Showalter.
Prieto reportedly was listed as the No. 20 prospect in the organization.
With the Orioles capping a four game series in Toronto Flaherty had to travel across two time zone and into a different country while securing a passport.
For a pending free agent this trade could be the perfect audition for a player hitting the market. In St. Louis Flaherty was playing for a team with the worst record and virtually no hopes of making the playoffs. Baltimore has the best record in the American League.
As the innings mount for a young staff Flaherty he could be their No. 1 starter and the relief to a tiring bullpen that hasn’t been as dominant as they were early in the season.
“I’m excited,” Flaherty told MLBbro.com. “It’s great to be in a [pennant] race again. “I can’t wait.”
Flaherty delivered a gem in his first start with the Orioles who took three of four from the Blue Jays in Toronto and immediately found a place in the their record books.
After allowing the first two batters to reach bast he made history by retiring 15 consecutive Blue Jays batters.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he was the second player in team history to retire at least 15 consecutive batters in his debut. After his personal whirlwind, Flaherty followed the script delivered by catcher Adley Rutschman.
“That’s was all “Rutsch”,” Flaherty said. “I had to rely on him because he had seen them before. He had a great game plan so all I had to do was execute”.
However, on a contender again at 27 years old, Flaherty provides depth to an inexperienced pitching staff that is talented but hasn’t never logged this many innings. Flaherty has a proven track record and has pitched in meaningful games. He has a career 3.58 ERA in 122 games when includes 118 starts. The Orioles are hoping he returns to the 2019 form when he finished with a 2.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP and finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting.
Flaherty joined the Orioles after making 20 previous starts this year with a 7-6 record, 4.43 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. He had given up 116 hits, 10 home runs and 54 walks and struck out 106 batters in 109.2 innings coming in. However, most of the damage had been done early games where he’s had struggles with his command. Nonetheless, a chance to win has given him a spike of professional adrenaline and it appears to be game on from here.
“All you want is the chance to play in big games with a chance to win,” said Flaherty. “We’ve got that here and that’s all you can ask for”.