A Look at the Cardinals Starting Rotation

Cardinals Starting Rotation: Opening Day is only a day away and baseball fans couldn’t be more excited. The Cardinals have finalized their starting rotation ahead of their season opener. This lineup is different from the one at the start of the spring season and this rotation isn’t permanent and will change.

The Cardinals have built their rotation behind ace Jack Flaherty. Flaherty was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014 and made it to the big leagues in 2017.

In his four years in the majors, Flaherty has played 76 games and started 75 of them. He has a win/loss percentage of .511% with a 23-22 record and has recorded a total of 482 strikeouts.

Behind him in order are Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Daniel Ponce de Leon, and John Gant announced by manager Mike Shildt.

Ponce de Leon and Gant are in the starting rotation because Miles Mikolas suffered a right shoulder injury and Kwang Hyun Kim had back tightness that hindered him in camp.

“We’ll evaluate it as Kim and Miles come back,” Shildt said. “But to start the season, we’re thrilled those guys have earned their opportunities to go out and start.”

Kwang Hyun Kim was a part of Flaherty’s loss Saturday to the Miami Marlins. Kim gave up two runs in a couple of innings in his first appearance since March 8th.

Kim had a 1.62 ERA in 39 innings last season and after his first appearance since the beginning of March, he said his back is feeling a lot better.

“Currently I think my arm strength is better than last year,” Kim said through an interpreter. “After the injury, I had with back stiffness, it’s a building-up process.”

following the season opener the Cardinals will use their full five-man roster which gives Flaherty five days rest until he will pitch again on April 7th in Miami.

Last season Ponce de Leon had a 4.96 ERA in eight starts and struggled in his final start of the spring against the Houston Astros. He pitched 4.1 innings giving up 5 hits and 3 earned runs including a home run.

Even though Ponce de Leon did not finish on a good note the Cardinals have faith that he has all the tools to be more consistent during the regular season.

“He knows the expectations,” Shildt said. “He has been in more consistent control of what he’s doing, why he’s doing it and how he’s doing it.”

This season is a huge opportunity for Gant to prove himself. This is his first time he will be starting games since 2018. During that season he had a record of 5-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 19 starts for the Cardinals. The next season Gant would lose his starting spot in a rotation battle against Dakota Hudson and would become a valuable bullpen piece.

“We’ve got some clarity to what that will look like,” Shildt said. “We’re having internal discussions, we’re talking to players, we’re doing our due diligence and now we’re in the process of finalizing it and making it official.”