The Orioles acquired Jack Flaherty for games like Friday’s. He failed to deliver. | ANALYSIS

When the Orioles traded for Jack Flaherty at the deadline, he became the only pitcher on the team with a playoff start on his resume.

His success in those big moments with the St. Louis Cardinals is one of the reasons Baltimore gave up three prospects Baseball America ranked in the organization’s top 20 for just a few months of Flaherty’s services.

“He’s experienced, and the accomplishments he’s made over there, [that] probably makes him our second-most experienced starter,” Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said after the trade deadline, noting 35-year-old Kyle Gibson as the lone Baltimore pitcher with more career innings than Flaherty.

Flaherty’s start Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles’ biggest game of the season to date, was his best chance — and perhaps his last — to show he is the pitcher the club needed when it traded for him.

He didn’t.

“Rough stretches happen. Why would confidence change? Rough stretches happen,” Flaherty said. “You go through rough stretches no matter what. I wouldn’t put tonight into that same category. I threw the ball well at certain points.”

Elias said in early August that he hoped the Orioles could “get him hot in the next couple months.” Instead, Flaherty, who gave up three runs and was pulled after just four innings Friday, has been the club’s worst starting pitcher with a 7.11 ERA and 1.67 WHIP.

Since his sparkling debut, in which he twirled six innings of one-run ball in Toronto, Flaherty has failed to register a single quality start in six chances. He is 0-3 with an 8.42 ERA during that stretch.

Flaherty wasn’t the deadline splash other teams made, which is why the Orioles didn’t have to part ways with one of the gems of their farm system to get him; each of the prospects dealt ranked outside their top 10. But Flaherty was solid for the Cardinals in the first half, posting a 4.43 ERA in his first healthy season since his dominant 2019 campaign. On the season, he has a 5.03 ERA.

Adam Wainwright, the veteran leader of the Cardinals’ rotation, said earlier this week he’s seen “greatness from Jack” when he has his command and swing-and-miss breaking balls at the same time. In 2019, a 23-year-old Flaherty finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting and started three playoff games for a St. Louis team that went to the NL Championship Series, including a six-inning, one-run gem in Game 5 of the NL Division Series. The following year, he allowed just one run in six innings in the final game of the wild-card round for his third quality start in four playoff outings.

“Jack’s a big-game performer,” Wainwright said Wednesday, the same day Drew Rom, one of three prospects Baltimore traded for Flaherty, pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings to beat the Orioles. “Jack’s comfortable in those big spots and wants those big spots. He actually excels in those better than games that …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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