“Some days it’s tougher than others,” described St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny following his team’s 7-4 loss to Miami on Tuesday night. Officially, the Cardinals were charged with two throwing errors to first base, but there were other mistakes that didn’t make it into the boxscore.
In the 2nd inning, Marcell Ozuna scored from second base on an RBI single by Yadier Molina into left field. He was safe, but Ozuna ran right through the stop sign by third base coach Jose Oquendo.
“We talk about it,” acknowledged Matheny.
In the 5th inning with one out and runners at second and third, Tommy Pham was picked off third by pitcher Jose Urena.
“Very unique pick off play that caught us off, that’s all,” said Matheny. “It’s a big spot there too. We have baserunners wanting to be very aggressive, trying to score on contact in that particular situation. It’s not a play that you see very often and it’s not very easy to pull off, but they executed it and it couldn’t have come at a bigger time for them.”
“I don’t know how that play is on me, I’m the wrong guy to talk to,” said Pham. “I’m going on contact there. Anybody knows when you’re going on contact, you need to get a big lead. You need to go. You’ve got to be ready for the ball in play. We know that this team picks off a lot, I saw it was in the scouting report. All I did was put myself in a position to score because we have Urena pitching, he’s a sinkerballer. I have to anticipate, I have to be ready for the ball on contact so I can put myself in a position to score. That’s all.”
On the mound, Carlos Martinez needed a couple of innings before he felt confident ramping up his fastball to a higher velocity.
“Today was like a working day,” he explained. “Today I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t want to get hurt again…I was trying, but after the 2nd inning, I had all my stuff again.”
“Yeah, today I didn’t want to throw hard. Just in case. Because of what was going on with my arm and I was trying to be good for the whole game. I’m going to compete next time.”
Activated from the DL before the game, Martinez had been out the last few weeks with a lat strain but threw on a rehab assignment last week in Springfield (AA). Asked if he would have benefited from another rehab start, he declined.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “Today was a lot of work because I wanted to win the game. I wanted to help myself and help the team. This is one game…I will get going, right now.”
Martinez answered that he had thrown pitches at a higher velocity prior to tonight’s start.
Besides the issues finding his rhythm, Martinez also had an odd play on the mound in the top of the 3rd inning. Brian Anderson hit a grounder back to Martinez, who wound up on the ground fielding the ball. Rather than get back on his feet, Carlos made an arching throw from his knees, which Anderson beat out.
“Yeah, yeah,” answered Matheny if that play bothered him. “We don’t work on that. Get to your feet. Make a throw.”
There was also a brief scare with Yadier Molina, who like Martinez was playing in his first game after being activated from the DL. Batting in the 5th, Molina stepped out of the box in pain after a swing and training staff came out to tend to his right hand.
“He took a foul ball in his throwing hand and then he felt it on the swing,” explained Matheny. “Just because it was already irritated. He just needed a second to get the sting out and then felt better.”
“I’m fine, no worries,” echoed Molina.
The Cardinals are now 5-7 in games following a day off this season and committed two or more errors in the same game for the 11th time this year.
photo credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports