As the Cardinals are locked in a fight with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central, they’re going to be faced with a pretty notable absence.
According to a report from The Athletic’s Katie Woo, Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty has a “significant” oblique injury that will likely cause him to miss extended time. Woo said that Cardinals manager Mike Schildt did not provide a timeline on his absence.
Really tough news from the Cardinals front. Jack Flaherty is headed to the injured list with a “significant” oblique injury. Mike Shildt says there is no timetable, but he undoubtedly will be out a while.
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) June 2, 2021
Flaherty, who placed fourth in the Cy Young voting in 2019, was turning in another strong season after he struggled in the shortened 2020 campaign. His 2.90 ERA was the lowest among Cardinals starting pitchers and his 1.0 WAR, according to Fangraphs, was the best among pitchers on the team.
The loss of Flaherty for any amount of time will put St. Louis in a tough position as the Cardinals already entered Wednesday trailing the Cubs by half a game. St. Louis’ starting pitcher ERA of 3.68 is 11th best in the big leagues this season.
St. Louis has seen Kwang-hyun Kim step up in the rotation with an ERA of 3.65 and John Gant post a sterling 1.60 ERA — albeit with a 15.2 percent walk rate that hints at possible regression — while Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright have each pitched to a 4.22 ERA so far this season.