The St. Louis Cardinals will play a Wild Card playoff elimination game on Wednesday against the defending World Champion LA Dodgers. Could we get a Jack Flaherty vs. Mookie Betts matchup?
The playoffs are here and a group of MLBbros are set to be major factors in this year’s race to the World Series trophy.
Here are our #HighFive Bros that need to step up in October.
1. Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts and the Dodgers are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back World Series since the Yankees completed a three peat from 1998 to 2000.
This Mookie Betts catch 😱 pic.twitter.com/D9wPv1370T
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 17, 2020
Statistics would tell you it has been a “down” year for Betts whose .266 batting average is his lowest since 2017. But those are the type of expectations burdened by superstars of his caliber. Betts ended his All-Star season with 23 home runs, 58 RBI and an .854 OPS. His Dodgers will take on the Cardinals in a Wild Card play-in game and should they win, they would meet their divisional rivals over in The Bay.
Mookie Betts makes incredible catch in the 5th innning pic.twitter.com/RZyy3EPFPK
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 17, 2020
Betts batted .269 with an .898 OPS, two home runs, two doubles and five runs scored in last year’s World Series It was the second time Betts was able to earn some bling as he won with the Red Sox in 2018.
Even when Betts isn’t hitting at the top of his game, the game saving catches he provides defensively will be a major factor in October. The Cardinals are no joke, and neither are the 107-win Giants, so the Dodgers will need their stars to be stars and show up when needed most.
Jack Flaherty was on his way to joining the Black Ace club of 20 game winners before injuries put a stop to his 2021 season. It’s taken him some time to get back to form, but now the Cardinals plan on using him as a convertible piece in their bullpen.
Jack Flaherty, 94mph Paint. 🖌️🎨 pic.twitter.com/tG7M4qeWU0
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 14, 2021
Last Wednesday Flaherty made his first relief appearance since 2017.
Teams typically shorten their rotations in the postseason so it’s not surprising the Cardinals choose Flaherty for the role since he missed so much time with injury. The MLBbro hurler worked a clean inning on the last day of the season, striking out two Cubs batters. He had a 3.22 ERA to go along with 85 strikeouts on the season.
JACK FLAHERTY NUKE
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) May 8, 2021
It is expected that the Cardinals would use Flaherty first out of the bullpen in the Wild Card game behind probable starter Adam Wainwright.
Lo Cain finds himself back in the playoffs for the first time since his magical World Series run with the Kansas City Royals in 2015. Cain won an ALCS MVP award after posting a .533 batting average, the highest batting average for a postseason series in Royals history.
Lorenzo Cain makes a catch like this every year 🔥 pic.twitter.com/ZHyRll46x4
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) September 19, 2021
These days Cain is patrolling center field for the Milwaukee Brewers who may have the best pitching staff, top to bottom, in the league. His defense and leadership will give the Brew Crew a postseason
Cain has more experience playing October baseball than most, so it’s important he can cash in on his opportunities at the plate and in the field.
Tim Anderson has done everything asked of him this season when it comes to being one of the faces of baseball. Now we’re going to get to see him perform when the pressure is at its highest.
Anderson and the White Sox made the playoffs last season but failed to advance past the first round. Now, they have the chance to change the narrative and own the Windy City when it comes to baseball.
In his postseason career Anderson has a .643 batting average, a 1.429 OPS and two runs scored.
— ⚫️𝗪𝗦𝗫𝗠𝗔𝗧𝗧⚪️ (@wsxmatt) October 2, 2021
The series between the Astros and White Sox may be the most intriguing we will see this week, and I can guarantee T.A. is ready for it.
LaMonte Wade Jr.
Late night LaMonte is going to be thrown right into the middle of the postseason fire this year after the Giants starting first baseman broke his thumb.
LaMonte Wade Jr. wins the 2021 Willie Mac Award 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/alz64fFjxz
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) October 2, 2021
Wade’s shown up all year for San Francisco whether it be when he was in right field or at first. Wade is batting .253 this season with 18 home runs, 56 RBI and six stolen bases.
— Chris Longley (@Chris_Longley_) October 1, 2021
Wade is one of many unsung heroes this season for a Giants team that shocked the baseball world by having the best record in the Majors this season. I cannot wait to see this MLBbro represent in the Bay Area, especially late in games when he seems to show up most.
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.
Devin “The Changeup Whisperer” Williams made a name for himself in 2020, during a season in which he was crowned the National League Rookie of the Year, National League Reliever of the Year, and All-MLB Second Team.
No reliever had won a Rookie of the Year award since Craig Kimbrel for Atlanta in 2011, and no reliever had ever won in either league without recording at least one save.
“Mr. Lights Out” is having another impressive season in year number two for the Milwaukee Brewers. There’s no question that Williams has been the go to guy for the Brewers out of the bullpen in 2021. The numbers don’t lie.
Devin Williams on picking up Freddy last night: "It was a good group effort from literally everyone that's in the pen." #ThisIsMyCrew@SophiaMinnaert with lots of insight. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/5ZyTjsmlqC
— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) August 19, 2021
This season he has a 6-1 record with a 2.23 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 48 games.
Check this impressive stat out though.
He has not allowed an earned run since June 23rd !
Williams is one of several potent relievers in Milwaukee’s bullpen. Brewers manager Craig Counsell couldn’t be more pleased with his relievers and is ecstatic that Williams continues to be dominant in his role.
“The decisions have been pretty simple and they’ve done their job really well at a really high level. We’re fortunate from that perspective,” Counsell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They way they’ve pitched has certainly made my job really easy in terms of how we order this thing. It’s my job to make sure they get enough rest and keep them healthy.”
Though he got off to a slow start to the season, Williams quickly turned things around and has shown the league why he accomplished so much in 2020.
Set up man Devin Williams put on a masterclass during the Milwaukee Brewers four-game homestand in which the Brew Crew took three out of four games against the defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. @carrpediem21 has the full story on https://t.co/d5pfLsCroD pic.twitter.com/fbpIh0Ayu0
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 4, 2021
Williams, 27, was dominant as the setup closer for Josh Hader during the COVID season. He shined with his high 90s heat and a ridiculous changeup that stifled the game’s best hitters to the tune of an unhittable 0.33 earned run average in 22 appearances to go along with a 4-1 record.
His K rate was off the charts, finishing with 53 in 27 innings for a historic ratio of 17.6 per nine innings. In addition, Williams led all major-league relievers with a 0.63 WHIP and .090 opponents batting average.
Many considered Williams’ changeup, which was given the nickname “Airbender,” the most untouchable pitch in the majors. Hitters went 2 for 62 (.032) against it with 41 strikeouts.
Following his battle with a bum shoulder, most thought Williams would have a significant drop off this season. Early on, it looked that way. Williams started the season allowing nine walks, seven hits, and had an ERA of 13.49. On May 1, his ERA was 4.66.
But he’s found his groove and now its lights out. Over his last 26 appearances, Williams has had a 0.35 ERA. That’s about right for him. He also picked up his first save of the season on August 4th against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Nobody wants to see Milwaukee in a playoff series.
Whether it’s an inning or two of relief work, or coming in to pick up a save, Williams does not back down from any challenge. Despite facing multiple injuries in his early career, Williams has not let that hold him back when he’s out there on the mound. When you watch him tote the rubber and get busy, you can see that he’s determined to get the job done.
Devin Williams, 6 consecutive Airbender Swings & Misses. 🛸
The last one 3,067 RPMs. pic.twitter.com/hY1fs9E4uq
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 15, 2021
Williams still has the wicked change up and he is adept at keeping hitters off balance at the plate. If you’re a hitter and you see a 95 mph plus fastball followed by a hard changeup, it’s hard to make that adjustment.
The Brewers are in a good position to win the National League Central division and Williams will definitely be an important piece coming out of the bullpen during the playoffs.
With all due respect to St. Louis Cardinals ace Black Jack Flaherty, Williams might just be the best MLBbro pitcher in the game.
St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty took the mound in search of his 10th win and had a solid outing on Wednesday. Black Jack pitched 6 innings, yielded two runs and K’d 8 in a hard luck no-decision against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.