Jack Flaherty bet on himself this offseason and just showed why against his former team

Detroit Tigers starter Jack Flaherty had his breakout start on Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Unfortunately, the team floundered in the end.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Flaherty tosses the ball behind the mound in a game against the Minnesota Twins.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Flaherty tosses the ball behind the mound in a game against the Minnesota Twins. / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

The Detroit Tigers lost the series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday despite a Riley Greene home run and a stunning start by Jack Flaherty. This was the makeup game from the rainout on Monday, and the first game of a doubleheader between the two teams. It was good to see Riley Greene get another home run, his sixth of the year to dead center field over the head of Lars Nootbar.

Jack Flaherty "bet on himself" this offseason by signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. This worked as a "prove it" type deal for the young starter after a rough season with the St Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles. On Tuesday, Flaherty got to face his former team after being brutally honest about why he signed with the Tigers over the Cardinals.

He opened the game with seven straight strikeouts, just two shy of the all-time record set by Pablo Lopez, then of the Miami Marlins, in 2021, but still tying an American League record. Flaherty had everything working for him. His fastball was pinpoint accurate, and his curveball and slider were flat-out unhittable.

Flaherty cruised through the game, finishing with 6-2/3 shutout innings, three hits allowed, one walk, and 14 strikeouts. You could tell he wanted this one. He wanted to beat his old teammates and prove to them that they made a mistake. He did that and did it in style.

This was the best start of the season not only for Flaherty but for the Tigers as a whole. Flaherty tied the most strikeouts by a pitcher in a game for the 2024 season and looked completely unhittable all day long. It came with another feel-good story as his mom was in the stands to see the whole thing unfold. She was visibly excited, making her way down just behind the dugout as Jack walked off the mound.

Detroit Tigers' Jack Flaherty showed everyone that he isn't finished with his start on Tuesday.

The Detroit Tigers witnessed a special outing from Flaherty as he had the most strikeouts in a game by a Tigers pitcher since Max Scherzer when he fanned 14 against the Pirates back in 2014. Also, Flaherty had 24 swings and misses on 93 pitches, which according to Baseball Savant, puts him in the top 10 since 2008 when the company started accumulating data. (Hat-tip to MCB's Rogelio Castillo for that stat.) Also in that group were Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez. Not bad company if you ask me.

Ideally, the Tigers would not have blown the lead in the ninth inning and could have used this as a spot to elevate their game heading into May, but regardless, the team got one heck of a performance from Mr. Jack Flaherty, and he deserves his moment in the spotlight.