|Young pitchers set to battle as Cardinals host Rockies|
Promising young pitchers from Southern California will duel Friday when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Colorado Rockies in their second of four games at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty (7-6, 3.46 ERA) will try to keep his team rolling. The Cardinals have won 10 of their last 13 games and they sit in second place in the National League Central, a half-game back of first-place Chicago Cubs.
Flaherty was the 34th overall pick in the 2014 draft out of Studio City Harvard-Westlake High School. He broke in the big leagues in 2017 and established himself as a high-end starter during the last two seasons.
He is 3-0 with a 0.35 ERA in four starts this month.
But Flaherty, 23, wasn't as sharp in his last outing, a 5-4 victory at Cincinnati. He walked three batters and exited with nobody out in the sixth inning.
"Any time you give up free passes, which we kind of did today, it's not putting yourself in the best position," Flaherty told reporters after the game. "Today, (I) lost my mechanics a little bit there, but all in all, keeping the ball in the yard and executing when you need to."
He lost to the Rockies 6-3 last season in his only career start against them. He allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Flaherty will have his hands full with Colorado slugger Nolan Arenado, who has seven homers and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games.
The Rockies will counter with rookie starting pitcher Peter Lambert, 22, the 44th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of San Dimas High School.
Lambert (2-3, 6.55 ERA) graduated to the majors earlier this season. He is facing the Cardinals for the first time in his young career.
He quickly made his mark by beating the Cubs twice. Lambert met the quality start standard in his previous outing, a 7-6 victory over Miami, but didn't get the decision. He allowed three runs on six hits in six innings.
"His demeanor lends to his success and to his approach, because he's pretty laid back as an individual," Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta told Forbes.com. "He's pretty cerebral. He knows what he's trying to do out there. And he has a really good understanding of his body and his mechanics. He has a plan of attack, and he has great command on top of that and that really helps."
Lambert will face a recalibrated Cardinals offense featuring Dexter Fowler in the leadoff spot. Fowler hit the decisive two-run homer to beat the Rockies 6-5 on Thursday night, and he has 15 RBIs in his last 11 games.
The development of Lambert and other young pitchers will highlight the rest of the season for the Rockies, who have suffered a number of key pitching injuries.
Kyle Freeland went on the injured list with a groin muscle strain a day after Jon Gray went on the injured list with a broken foot.
In the near term, reliever Wes Parsons is up from Triple-A. The Rockies claimed Parsons off waivers from the Braves on Aug. 19. He was 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 17 games for Atlanta this year and 2-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 27 minor league games.
The Cardinals also made a bullpen adjustment, recalling Dominic Leone from Triple-A Memphis and returning Junior Fernandez to that team. Leone won Thursday night's game in relief.
In three previous Cardinals stints this season, Leone posted a 7.14 ERA in 28 games. But he had a 0.73 ERA with 23 strikeouts and two walks in his last 12 1/3 innings at Memphis.
--Field Level Media