Before the game, St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny stated he felt Carlos Martinez was going “to do something special” but that positivity was put to the test in the 1st inning as his starter allowed two runs and threw 31 pitches to the Cleveland Indians.
“I just looked at the screen and saw 30-something pitches–but I was just trying to compete and never lose the focus,” said Martinez. ”
But then the Cardinals offense, starting with a lead-off home run from Matt Carpenter, helped spark Martinez.
“That’s what made me comfortable,” he explained. “Like I’ve got my teammates, they got me. That really helped me a lot.”
“That game was not supposed to be not too many runs because of me and (Kluber), so I really appreciate all the guys–they were focused every time at bat and every pitch he threw. And about Carp, that was awesome.”
After that first frame, Martinez settled in to a groove and didn’t allow another run and scattered three hits to complete the 6th inning. He threw a total of 103 pitches.
“Just trying to be focused,” said Martinez. “I was a little bit away, but I tried to throw all my pitches right in the middle because they had a little of movement today. That helped a lot.”
The win was the first in five tries for Martinez since he returned from the disabled list (lat strain) on June 4th and it was his first game with at least five strikeouts since April 21st.
“Tonight, I was believing in all my pitches,” said Martinez. “When I’m trying to hit a corner, all my pitches have a lot of movement. When I was trying to hit the corners, that was not good today in the 1st inning. But after the 2nd inning, Yadi told me, ‘throw all your pitches right in the middle’ because they have a lot of movement today and that’s going to be better.”
After the 1st inning, with no fear or being cautious to not reinjure his arm, reaching 98mph early on the radar gun, and having the feel on both his two-seam and four-seam fastballs, this was the first game Martinez felt close to his old self again on the mound.
“Yeah, yeah,” he agreed. “Everything that went into the month after I got hurt–I’m trying. I’m trying to get to myself and trying to believe in myself. That’s why I’m competing right now, I’m comfortable and it made me feel better.”
Martinez and his Tsunami Waves Foundation will be hosting their 4th Annual Celebrity Bowling Event this Thursday, June 28th from 6-10pm at Bowlero in St. Peters. Proceeds will benefit children in need in both the metro area and Dominican Republic.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports