ATLANTA (KMOX) - Jack Flaherty was pitching with two No. 45's on his mind. One was Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, his friend since high school who died in a hotel room during a road trip in Texas. The other was St. Louis Cardinals legend and National Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, who is in the middle of a fight with pancreatic cancer.
Flaherty pitched six innings in Wednesday's Game 5 victory, clinching a spot in the NLCS for St. Louis. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight. He has not given up more than three runs in his 15 starts since the All-Star break – posting a 0.91 ERA.
He joined our Mike Claiborne in the clubhouse after the game and mentioned a special text message he received from the Cardinals all-time leader in innings pitched (3885.1), wins (251), strikeouts (3117), complete games (255) and shutouts (56).
Gibson texted Flaherty and told him, "Good luck. Go get them today."
"I woke up from my nap and saw the text and that's all I needed," Flaherty says. "I've got two 45's I'm doing it for right now, but all thoughts and prayers with Gibby right now."