The Cardinals will place Jack Flaherty on the 10-day injured list, but the news is much worse than just that, per MLB.com’s Jeff Jones (via Twitter). Flaherty suffered a “significant” oblique injury, adds the Athletic’s Katie Woo. There is no timetable for his return, but the initial word choices here do not paint a positive picture for the Cardinals’ right-hander, who may be looking at a Grade 2 or Grade 3 oblique strain – though no official designation has been given.
This comes as unwelcome news for the Cardinals, who are trying to fend off the Cubs and Brewers for first place in the NL Central. Obviously, losing their ace won’t help that cause. Flaherty has a 2.90 ERA/3.68 FIP in 62 innings through 11 starts, good for 1.0 fWAR. He has been allowing more fly balls than usual with a career-low 36.3 percent groundball rate, but those air-balls haven’t been leaving the yard – 11.7 HR/FB% is the lowest of his career.
The rest of Flaherty’s profile looks pretty close to what we’ve come to expect from the 25-year-old. He’s striking out 26.3 percent of opponents while walking 7.8 percent – both of which are above-average rates for starters this season. He’s averaging 93.9 mph on his four-seamer, which is right in line with the past couple of seasons. He’s gone with more four-seamers than sinkers than usual, but not enough to suggest a change in approach.
In the short-term,Johan Oviedo will take Flaherty’s spot in the rotation. Oviedo was recently optioned to Triple-A, but he’s been recalled in light of Flaherty’s injury. The 23-year-old has a 5.40 ERA/6.02 FIP in 20 innings this season. Before you ask, young hurlers Alex Reyes and Genesis Cabrera have already been ruled out by manager Mike Shildt as rotation options, tweets Jones. Daniel Ponce de Leon or Jake Woodford, however, could be stretched out with the possibility of opening games on the hill.