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Series Preview 5/15-16: Cardinals at Twins

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The Cardinals are in Minneapolis for a two-game clash with the Twins at Target Field

St Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
Flaherty will take the mound in the series opener.
Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

After they came to St. Louis and won both games, the Cardinals are hoping to pull off the same feat in Minneapolis against the Twins this week. The brief, two-game meeting will begin on Tuesday evening. The Cardinals enter the series with a 22-16 record; the Twins are 17-19.

Tuesday’s contest will feature a pair of young right-handed hurlers on the mound, as 23-year-old Jose Berrios will face off with 22-year-old Jack Flaherty. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. Berrios, Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2012, has recently experienced a rough stretch. Dating back to April 24, Berrios has allowed at least four earned runs in four starts - and five runs in two of those outings. Nonetheless, Berrios leads the Twins’ pitching staff with a 1.04 WHIP and 40 frames. Opposing batters are hitting .223 against Berrios with only nine walks.

Flaherty is starting in place of Carlos Martinez, who hit the disabled list with a right lat strain following his last start. This will be Flaherty’s third big-league start of the year and his first since April 28. In his last outing for the Triple-A Redbirds, Flaherty fanned a career-high 13 batters. In five starts for the Redbirds, Flaherty was 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 31 23 innings. If Adam Wainwright’s recent struggles require him to miss a start, Flaherty could be the guy the Cardinals rely on to fill the void.

A quick turnaround follows Tuesday’s contest, as Wednesday’s series finale will start at 12:10 PM Central time. St. Louis will work against a familiar face, with Lance Lynn slated to the take the mound against Miles Mikolas and the Cardinals. Lynn has struggled in his new threads, having already allowed six home runs and 25 walks in seven starts. Lynn might be able to right himself when he faces a team he knows very well; however, the Cardinals have the same upside against Lynn.

Mikolas, who ‘replaced’ Lynn in the Cardinals’ rotation, has been more than the team envisioned him to be. In seven starts for St. Louis, Mikolas has maintained a 3.10 xFIP with a 35:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 46 23 innings, serving as an excellent number-two behind Martinez. Though wins aren’t a stat to put stock in, Mikolas is the only National League pitcher with five wins and zero losses and one of only three in the game; Charlie Morton of the Astros and Hector Velazquez of the Red Sox are the other two.

The video of Flaherty is credited to the official Minor League Baseball YouTube channel.