The St. Louis Cardinals went into their Sunday match-up against the Mariners having only two quality starts from their starting pitchers through 21 games. As Jack Flaherty exited the field after the bottom of the sixth inning, he notched the Cardinals’ third quality start.
Going six innings and allowing three runs while fanning nine at the plate, Flaherty gave the Cardinals what they needed to work with. The Redbirds’ offense started hot, with a home run from Lars Nootbaar on the first pitch of the game. Go-ahead Gorman would hit a three-run home run in the fourth, and Paul DeJong hit his first home run of the year, his first since August 22nd of last year.
Genesis Cabrera, Ryan Helsley, and Giovanny Gallegos allowed no runs across three innings of work. The win improved the Cardinals to 9-13.
Sunday’s game was one that saw a lot of positives for the team. There is hope amongst the Cardinals fan base that this win will jolt the team into a winning streak as they look ahead to San Francisco.
Paul DeJong: He’s known for doing this sort of thing. This is the third time in his career that after being brought up from AAA, he homered in his first game back. Bring along two singles, and DeJong is starting off his 2023 with a spark, which is exactly what the Cardinals need.
Nolan Gorman: Is there a better hitter on the team right now than Nolan Gorman? The 22 year old holds a .313/.397/.657 slash line, all while sporting a 1.054 OPS. His fourth-inning home run raised his total to six, which leads the team. Gorman leads the Cardinals in all major offensive categories besides OBP.
Jack Flaherty: Coming off of a start where he surrendered four runs across six innings and only struck out four, Jack Flaherty came into this game needing to bounce back, and he did. Punching out nine hitters across six innings, Flaherty increased the Cardinals quality start tally to three, joining Jordan Montgomery as the only pitchers to give quality starts this season. He allowed three runs, but his ERA still sits at a very respectable 3.29, with a 2-2 record.
Andrew Knizner: Backup catcher Andrew Knizner has struggled to begin the season. With a .150/.190/.150 slash line, he has certainly had a less-than-ideal start to his 2023. Tres Barrera and Ivan Herrera currently sit in AAA, and with both performing well at the plate, a switch could be made soon.
Nolan Arenado’s OPS: Although he has a .284 batting average, 10x Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado has struggled to raise his OPS. It currently sits at .719, which would be the second lowest of his career if the season ended today. Thankfully, there are 140 games left this season, meaning there’s no reason to panic about whether or not Arenado will be the same player we saw at the plate in 2022.
Willson Contreras’ Bat: Stemming from a strikeout that saw two very low pitches called for a strike, 3x All-Star Willson Contreras slammed his bat into the ground, effectively shattering it. When he returned to the dugout, he continued to yell at home plate umpire Dan Iassogna, who then threw out Contreras. This was the seventh ejection of Contreras’ career, his first as a Cardinal.
The Cardinals (9-13) will travel south to San Francisco to take on the Giants (8-13), where they will send Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 4.84 ERA) to face off against Alex Cobb (0-1, 2.79 ERA) in the first of a four-game series. Jake Woodford, Steven Matz, and Miles Mikolas are set to start games two, three, and four, respectively. The series will lead into a three-game set against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.