It was an interesting game, but the Cardinals pulled it out and now have their first series win since Opening Weekend. Jack Flaherty looked good today. He went 5.2 innings and allowed two runs, one earned. The offense also kept clicking. Tyler O’Neill, Nolan Arenado, and Nolan Gorman all hit home runs. Paul Goldschmidt also drove in a run in the ninth.
The bullpen was mostly good, but Drew Ver Hagen was not, as he recorded just one out and allowed two runs to tie the game at four. Fortunately, Andre Pallante bailed him out and gave the Cards a scoreless inning. Giovanny Gallegos pitched well in the eighth and Ryan Helsley made sure the ninth was drama free.
The Cardinals are now 5-7 on the season, which through 12 games isn’t too bad. It’s not great, but considering where the Cardinals were at the start of the series, this feels like a lot more than your average series win, even against a team like the Rockies. Here are a few takeaways from today’s win.
The Streak Continues
Jordan Walker’s hit streak almost came to an end. The 20-year-old was 0-3 heading into his at-bat in the ninth. But he snuck one into left field for a base hit, which sparked the ninth inning rally. I think it’s clear that all this kid does is hit. He’s showing no signs of slowing down and he remains locked in at crucial spots.
As it turns out, Walker was the missing link to the offense and he’s provided a spark where the Cardinals needed one. I’ve been impressed so far, and I’m hoping that if Willson Contreras continues to struggle, the Cardinals will consider moving Walker up in the order.
Powered By Nolans
The two Nolans continued to mash for the Cardinals. Arenado hit one in the third to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. After they had given up the lead, Gorman hit one the opposite way for a two-run shot, which put the Cards back in front. I’ve also been impressed by Gorman. It’s clear that he worked hard this offseason to fix the holes in his swing and make some key adjustments.
I’m sure I’m also not the only one who noticed that Gorman’s home run went to the opposite field. That was also quite encouraging to see. To me, he seemed like a pull hitter when it came to power last season. But I’m impressed to see that he managed to find power when taking the ball the other way.
A Good Start
The Cardinals may still be stuck on just one quality start, but I can’t complain about what I saw from Jack Flaherty. He cut down on the walks and struck out six batters. I honestly felt bad for him when the Cardinals lost the lead, as it took him out of the running for the win, which he definitely deserved after the way he pitched today. Only one of the two runs he allowed was earned.
I think this is a good sign for the rotation. While Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, and Jake Woodford have all struggled, Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery have been the outliers. And the fact that he was able to limit the damage at a ballpark like Coors Field was especially encouraging. I think it’s obvious that the Coors effect worked against Mikolas last night, and that can happen to any pitcher. But I was pleased to see Flaherty keep the Rockies in check and pitch well despite pitching in a hitter’s haven.
The Cards return home for a four-game set against the Pirates. Montgomery will be on the hill to start the series.