In this time, Flaherty made three starts, totaling eight innings and giving up five runs.
John Mozeliak on the decision to bring Jack Flaherty back early from his rehab assignment: "A lot of it's based on the feedback you're getting from the athlete. … Ultimately it's not our decision. We laid out a plan, the plan was deviated, and here we are."#STLCards pic.twitter.com/lrTgFdAcOZ
— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) June 27, 2022
Now the right-hander is heading back to the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.
While this hurts the Cardinals rotation, they have shown that they may be able to weather the injury.
Here is a look at how their rotation will fare in Flaherty’s absence.
Cardinals Have Gotten This Far
As the month of June comes to a close, the Cardinals sit at second in the NL Central.
They are just a half-game back of the Milwaukee Brewers, and are 42-34.
This success has come without Flaherty for most of the season, suggesting that the Cardinals may be fine after all.
If the team really needed Flaherty, they would not have gotten to this point.
While the addition of their ace is obviously important as the playoff race begins to shape up, the Cardinals have plenty of talent to carry them far enough.
Paul Goldschmidt is without question NL MVP right now. It’s that simple. pic.twitter.com/2d52Bf8zJp
— Matt Infield (@Matt_Infield) June 28, 2022
The team’s bullpen has also stood out with Ryan Helsley at the helm.
In 28.2 innings, he has given up just one run, pitching to a 0.31 ERA.
If you don't know who Ryan Helsley is by now, you should! pic.twitter.com/sF0fjb2CPL
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 7, 2022
Altogether, this gives the Cardinals enough talent if they perform at a high level to overcome the loss of Flaherty.
That is not even including the starting pitchers, who have arguably been the strongest part of the team.
The Standout Starters
The most surprising part of the Cardinals season has been their starting pitching.
Miles Mikolas, a 2018 All-Star, has never played at that level since then.
This year, he seems to have rekindled the edge that made him such a good pitcher.
He is 5-5 with a 2.57 ERA, using his crafty stuff to get hitters out at a high level.
Miles Mikolas loses a no hitter with two strikes in the 9th inning pic.twitter.com/GuPSZSAt8v
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 15, 2022
Because of this, he has risen into the role of an ace even as Flaherty hasn’t seen much time on the mound this season.
Veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright, who has been one of the most consistent and recognizable faces in MLB during his 17-year career, is once again pitching at a high level.
Wainwright is also 5-5, having posted a strong 3.32 ERA along the way.
However, in recent weeks the team has been hampered by injuries to other pillars in their rotation.
With all of this in mind, the Cardinals seem to be in a spot to withstand the loss of Flaherty.
If they can stay on the same path over the next few weeks, as Flaherty works his way back to the mound, then the Cardinals could find themselves in a good place for the playoff race.