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Apr 29, 2024 8:19 pm

Tigers’ Jack Flaherty expects more of himself when facing Cardinals

Jack Flaherty Tigers

Jack Flaherty spent the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He’ll face his former team for the first time when the Detroit Tigers right-hander starts the opener of a straight doubleheader on Tuesday.

The three-game series was supposed to begin Monday night but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Flaherty made 122 appearances, including 118 starts, for the Cardinals during his first 6 1/2 seasons. He compiled a 41-31 record and 3.58 ERA during that time before he was dealt to Baltimore at last season’s trade deadline.

Flaherty signed a one-year, $14 million contract with Detroit during the offseason, adding depth to its rotation. He has made five starts in a Tigers uniform but has yet to record a victory.

Flaherty (0-1, 4.91) lasted at least six innings in his first four starts. He gave four runs and seven hits in five innings against Tampa Bay in his last start on Wednesday.

Flaherty departed that game with a lead, but reliever Will Vest allowed three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

“I’ve got to do a better job,” Flaherty said. “That’s what happens when you go just five innings. Vest has been unbelievable all year and he continued to throw the ball well. I’ve got to go deeper. Going five just doesn’t get the job done. I’ve got to be better earlier on so that it’s not like, ‘Oh, you threw well in the fifth.’ I need to be out there in the sixth and seventh.”

Flaherty will be opposed by another veteran right-hander, Kyle Gibson (2-2, 4.35), who has gone at least six innings in all five of his starts this year.

Gibson has been sharp in his last two outings. He held Milwaukee to one run in six innings on April 19, then did the same against Arizona last Wednesday.

Gibson settled down after the first three Diamondbacks batters reached base. That’s when Arizona scored its lone run off him.

“I’m not going to say never, but I rarely ever pitch well angry,” he said. “I’ve got to kind of center myself and understand that when I pitch angry, I normally kind of overcook pitches and overthrow, and that’s not good for me. I’ve got to stay smooth, stay focused and clear-minded. For me, I need to read swings, read takes and remember my (scouting) report. If I’m thinking something else, I’ve got no chance.”

Having pitched the bulk of his career for American League Central teams, Gibson is quite familiar with the Tigers. He’s faced them 27 times (26 starts), posting an 11-11 record and 5.66 ERA.

The Tigers haven’t listed a starter for Game 2 but they’ll likely recall right-hander Matt Manning (0-1, 2.92) from Triple-A Toledo. Manning, who won his only career start against St. Louis, has been recalled twice already this season to start in a doubleheader.

In his last major league appearance, Manning gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings to Minnesota in a 4-1 loss April 13.

Left-hander Steven Matz (1-2, 5.55) will start the second game for St. Louis. Matz has been roughed up in his last two outings.

He gave up five runs in five innings to Oakland on April 17, then surrendered seven runs in 4 1/3 innings to Arizona last Tuesday.

Matz has a 1.56 ERA in three career starts against the Tigers but no decisions.

–Field Level Media

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