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Cards' Flaherty won't answer 'ridiculous' questions about fastball velocity

Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images Sport / Getty

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty is fed up with answering questions about his declining fastball velocity.

"The next time somebody wants to mention the velocity on my fastball, just, I'm not going to answer that question," Flaherty told the media postgame Tuesday after his start against the Chicago Cubs, according to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat. "Like, I'm gonna play with the velocity of my fastball based on what the game calls for. I can get outs if I need to get outs at 95 (mph). ... I've thrown frickin' fastballs at 87 before in games when I've been at my best."

Flaherty's average fastball sat at 91.9 mph versus the Cubs, which is down from his season average of 92.9, according to Jones. He threw 39 fastballs with a maximum velocity of 94.8 mph, while his slowest registered at 85.9. Flaherty allowed three runs over five innings in St. Louis' 6-4 win Tuesday, walking five batters and striking out three.

The 27-year-old's fastball velocity has dipped to the 22nd percentile in MLB in 2023, according to Baseball Savant. It ranked in the 39th percentile in 2022 and 52nd in 2021.

"I'm just saying, because y'all want to make a big deal out of it, and I'm tired of it," Flaherty added. "And I'm not - it's so ridiculous. I'm gonna go for what the game calls for, and that's part of pitching. So, if you want to ask, you don't understand the art of pitching."

Flaherty is off to the worst start of his seven-year career, posting a 6.18 ERA with a 1.73 WHIP and 39 strikeouts to 27 walks over 39 1/3 innings (eight starts) this season. He owns a career 3.60 ERA but has dealt with several injuries over the last few years after finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting during the 2019 campaign.

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