Cardinals reveal NLCS rotation: Mikolas to start Game 1 against Nationals

Miles Mikolas will start Game 1 of the NLCS after making two NLDS appearances.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

If you went with Miles Mikolas in Game 1 in your Cardinals NLCS pitching rotation pool, you’re a winner.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt announced his starters for the first four games of the NL Championship Series on Thursday. It’s Mikolas in Game 1 against the Nationals in St. Louis and Adam Wainwright in Game 2. Jack Flaherty, who continued his second-half dominance in two NL Division Series starts, will start Game 3 when the series shifts to Washington, followed by Dakota Hudson in Game 4.

Hudson will be available out of the bullpen early in the NLCS.

Mikolas will face Nats right-hander Aníbal Sánchez. Washington’s starters beyond Game 1 have not been announced.

Mikolas got a no-decision in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves, allowing one run in five innings of a game St. Louis won 7-6. He then pitched a perfect inning of relief in Game 4 and got the win when the Cardinals rallied to win in the bottom of the 10th.

The 31-year-old right-hander pitched well at home in 2019, going 5-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 15 starts at Busch Stadium.

Wainwright also has enjoyed success at home this season: 9-4 with a 2.56 ERA in 16 starts. The 38-year-old right-hander was masterful in his lone NLDS appearance, pitching 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and handing the St. Louis bullpen a 1-0 lead in Game 3. The Cardinals wound up losing when the Braves scored three runs in the ninth.

Flaherty, 23, has merely been one of the best pitchers in baseball since the All-Star break. His 0.91 ERA in the second half is third best in major league history. He lost Game 2 of the NLDS when Mike Foltynewicz and the Braves blanked the Cards 3-0, then won the decisive Game 5 with six innings of four-hit, one-run ball. Both games were played on the road.

Hudson, 25, started St. Louis’ Game 4 win but lasted only 4.2 innings, allowing four runs (though only one was earned) on five hits. The right-hander was 16-7 with a 3.35 ERA in the regular season.