(Busch Stadium) Under normal circumstances, a one-run lead in the ninth inning would bring closer Carlos Martinez into the game for the St. Louis Cardinals. But today, that was not an option as the right-hander was not available and in fact, not even at the ballpark.
“Clearly not here,” Manager Mike Shildt shared postgame. “He dealt with something in Denver related to respiratory issues. Difficulty with his breathing. Trying to get a handle on it, spent the night last night in the hospital. Checked out with all his vitals clean but trying to figure out if it’s more allergy, respiratory, or exactly what it is. We’re hopeful he’s day-to-day.”
Since the All-Star break, Martinez’ 16 saves are the third most in MLB with the Cardinals 28-2 in the last 30 games he’s pitched in.
Martinez threw briefly in the bullpen last night, but had to cut short his attempt to pitch.
“He wasn’t available last night,” Shildt said. “He warmed up and he sat himself down.”
Speaking with Martinez before today’s game, Shildt shared Carlos was feeling better but it’s still not clear what the next step in the recovery process will be or how the bullpen may be forced to reshuffle.
“We don’t know,” Shildt said. “Clearly, it’s a concern–I’m more concerned about Carlos and his health. Last night was with him a while and he was laboring. So, I just want to make sure he’s okay and we’re getting out of the woods with him from a medical standpoint with him and then we’ll take care of the baseball after that.”
With a 4-3 lead and Martinez unavailable today, John Gant opened the ninth for the Cardinals and walked three of the four hitters he faced before Tyler Webb got Milwaukee’s Mike Moustakas to fly out to Harrison Bader in center for the second out of the inning. Rookie Junior Fernandez was brought in to face Ryan Braun, who took a slider up in the zone over the wall in left center to put the Brewers on top 7-4.
The Cardinals answered with a two-run homer by Tommy Edman in the bottom half of the frame, but Milwaukee held on for the 7-6 victory.
St. Louis is now 73-4 and this season when carrying a lead into the ninth inning.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports