Cardinals win the Jack Flaherty trade again thanks to an unlikely source

Former Orioles prospect Drew Rom dominates his former team in St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 victory. Rom was part of the Jack Flaherty trade.
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

If revenge games are a thing, we saw another example on Wednesday evening when starting pitcher Drew Rom made his new employer, the St. Louis Cardinals, look good against his former team, the Baltimore Orioles.

As part of the trade that saw Jack Flaherty find a new home with the Orioles, Drew Rom was one of the pieces that came back to St. Louis. A minor-league pitcher at the time of the trade, the 2018 fourth-round pick hadn't thrown above Triple-A in his career, but in just his fifth major league start, he sparkled against the team that gave him up.

The 23-year-old lefty took it to the hot-hitting Orioles, pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out seven. The rookie picked up his first major league win for his efforts after the Cardinals bullpen held on for a 1-0 victory. No small feat against the AL East-leading Orioles, who went into the matchup as the top offense in baseball in September.

As good as Rom's start was, it was a surprising outcome for outside observers. In four starts since making his major league debut on August 21, he had only made it through the fifth inning once and carried an ugly 7.79 ERA into this one at Camden Yards.

Cardinals not missing Jack Flaherty's recent performance

For his part, Flaherty's performance as an Oriole hasn't made the trade look lopsided in Baltimore's favor by any means. The Cardinals have, to some degree, looked clever for finding a way to get something in return for the struggling starter.

At 27, it feels like Flaherty should be a grizzled veteran by now. In the league since 2017, when he debuted as a promising 21-year-old, this season has been a rollercoaster of inconsistency for the right-hander. He left St. Louis with a 7-6 record and a 4.43 ERA.

Despite a stellar Orioles debut, when he struck out eight Blue Jays over six innings of one-run ball, the following starts haven't been nearly as sharp. He has given up three or more runs in each of his last five outings and now sports a 7.16 ERA with his new team.

A free agent after the season, Flaherty is still young enough that he could figure it out with a new organization, but there's no guarantee of that happening. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have years of opportunity with Drew Rom to make the trade look like a win.

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