Prior to Monday's victory, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Flaherty would start Game 5 on Wednesday in Atlanta if his ballclub extended the best-of-five-series.
“I think it's pretty clear,” Shildt said about Flaherty starting. “I look forward to it.”
Flaherty gave up three runs in seven innings in the Cardinals’ 3-0 loss in Game 2 on Friday. The first came in the first inning, and the other two on Adam Duvall’s pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning. Otherwise, Flaherty shut the Braves down and struck out eight.
After Sunday’s 3-1 loss in Game 3, the Cardinals needed to win Monday to be able to give the ball to Flaherty. Miles Mikolas, who started Game 1, threw a scoreless 10th inning that set up St. Louis' theatrics in the bottom half of the frame.
Will Martínez stay as closer?
A little more than 12 hours after Carlos Martínez allowed all three of the Braves’ runs in the ninth inning on Sunday, Shildt wasn’t ready to say definitively that Martínez would pitch the next time the Cardinals have a lead in the ninth inning. First, he wanted to have a conversation with Martínez.
“I just want to make sure Carlos' head is in the right place, make sure he's in the right frame of mind,” Shildt said. “I'm not worried about Carlos' stuff. It's about his execution, making sure he's making the quality pitches and his head is in a present state of mind.”
Hours later, Martínez worked around trouble to keep the score tied at 4 in the ninth inning of Game 4. He has allowed six of the Braves’ 16 runs over this series, and he blew his first postseason save opportunity on Sunday. After that game, Shildt said that he had confidence in Martínez, but it wouldn’t be surprising if another reliever -- like Andrew Miller or Giovanny Gallegos -- shows up in the ninth with a close lead, especially with the Cardinals facing elimination.