Just when St. Louis Cardinals fans though things couldn’t get any worse, well, Thursday happened. Jack Flaherty had already given up seven runs through 2.1 innings of work against the Los Angeles Angels, digging St. Louis a deep hole to climb out of if they wanted to avoid a sixth straight loss. And then the righty was forced to leave the game after taking a hard grounder off his left hand:
Jack Flaherty is leaving the field with a trainer. The athletic trainer had been looking at his left hand on the field after the grounder caromed.— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) May 4, 2023
Woodford, thrown into this mess, will be asked to shoulder as much as he can.#stlcards trail, 7-2.
It's only the 3rd on May 4.
Jake Woodford was called on for long relief, just days after he was booted from the starting rotation due to a 5.72 ERA over his first six starts. Woodford promptly coughed up three more runs — all attributed to Flaherty — to push the Angels’ lead to 10-2 by the end of the third inning.
The Cardinals were already getting desperate for starting pitching help, with Woodford, Steven Matz and Miles Mikolas off to dreadful starts this season. Now St. Louis may need to add Flaherty to that mix, and even with Adam Wainwright set to return from the IL, that’s a lot of holes to fill in the middle of the season. Top prospect Matthew Liberatore is showing out at Triple-A right now, but he’s only one man — a man who struggled mightily the last time we saw him in the Majors, although his stuff is much improved now — and the Cardinals are going to need much more than that if they hope to make good on what many saw as World Series potential prior to the start of the season.