After sleepwalking through the first half of the season, the Cardinals sprang to life after the All-Star break, thanks in no small part to Jack Flaherty. The young pitcher was dominant in the mid-to-late summer. In August, he took home National League Player of the Month honors. During that month, Flaherty went 4-1, including seven shutout innings in a big victory over the Cubs. His second-half surge helped propel the Cardinals from an even 44-44 record to first place in the Central Division.
As the Cards headed toward the postseason, the 23-year-old right-hander had already topped 200 strikeouts, making him the youngest Redbirds pitcher to do it since the 1800s. His performance has helped assuage some of the fan frustration after the Cards front office failed to land a frontline starter by the trade deadline. Heading into the playoffs, he was looking like the ace they needed all along.
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