(Jupiter, FL) When he’s not pitching, a smile can usually be found across the face of Carlos Martinez. But when he’s on the mound, in particular over the last couple of outings, the right-hander has been all business.
Last week, Carlos Martinez struck out five of the eight batters he faced. On Wednesday, he again struck out five batters as he allowed just two hits and no runs in his five innings as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Miami Marlins 4-1.
“I was very focused–that was my main goal today,” said Martinez with the help of translator Brayan Pena. “It worked pretty good for me. I really felt like I kept myself under control, I kept my focus. It was just a great outing for me.”
Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with a grounder down the first base line that bounced high off the bag and into right field for a single. Martinez responded by striking out the next three batters to end the inning.
“Sometimes pitches, they’re not going to go my way but at the same time, I need to re-focus. I need to control myself and go back to throwing strikes,” said Martinez, reiterating his goal of focusing this spring.
He retired the Marlins 1-2-3 in the 2nd inning before the lead off hitter again reached base in the 3rd inning. Martinez struck out the next two batters and then leaped high to snare a comebacker and made the throw to first to finish off the frame.
It was another 1-2-3 in the 4th inning and after a lead-off walk in the 5th, Martinez induced a 6-4-3 double play and then got Miguel Rojas to ground out to short to end his afternoon.
“I think he’s paying attention to what people are telling him that he’s missing,” observed Mike Matheny. “The one thing that is going to–and I think we’ve all seen it, he’ll be real good, something happens and there he goes. It’s a matter of just the consistency of staying to task. That’s focus.”
Besides keeping his focus, Martinez said he used his changeup while behind the count and to right-handed hitters, something he has been working on. As was the case last week, Carlos looked physically strong as he finished up his final inning of work. Could that be a sign of being ready for the start of the season?
“He’ll start in five days-four days, rest, and then he’ll start again,” answered Matheny as to what was next on the plan. “Just stay the course and keep pitching and then we’ll talk about that but he’s got another start and we’ll watch him.”
–Carlos Martinez will be hosting his 2nd Annual Celebrity Bowl on Thursday, June 16th from 6-10pm at The Flamingo Bowl in downtown St. Louis. Proceeds of the event will benefit children in St. Louis and the Dominican Republic. Carlos and several of his teammates will be on hand for the event which will feature over $15,000 in raffle and auction items to be awarded. Only a limited number of tickets are available for the event, which can be purchased online at TsunamiWavesFoundation.com.
photo credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports