St. Louis Cardinals: Carlos Martinez Dazzles For the Dominican Republic

Mar 9, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Dominican Republic pitcher Carlos Martinez (18) throws a pitch in the third inning against Canada during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Dominican Republic pitcher Carlos Martinez (18) throws a pitch in the third inning against Canada during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /

St. Louis Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez made his World Baseball Classic debut Thursday night, pitching for his native Dominican Republic against Team Canada.

Carlos Martinez made one start for the St. Louis Cardinals in Grapefruit League action last week. Since then, he’s been with the Dominican Republic team in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. The 25-year old phenom worked four innings Thursday evening in his team’s opener, allowing only one unearned run on a controversial balk call.

Cardinals prospect Rowan Wick also hurled a scoreless inning in relief for Team Canada. Wick, a catcher and outfielder in his first four minor-league seasons, switched to pitching last season. He’s an intriguing prospect (Remember Jason Motte‘s conversion?).

The Dominican Republic defeated the Canadian team 9-2 at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. Martinez was awarded the win.

He scattered three singles and used all four of his pitches effectively. His two-seam fastball darted all over the place, his changeup had depth to it, his high-octane four-seamer touched triple digits, and he got some swings and misses on his slider. All to say, Carlos looked absolutely locked in on the big stage.

Here’s a play-by-play and brief breakdown of his four innings on the mound, complete with gifs:

First Inning

Martinez made quick work of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey to begin the game, striking him out on four pitches. The final pitch of the at-bat was a 91 mph changeup with some wicked movement:

He followed by inducing a groundout from former American League MVP Justin Morneau. Two pitches during the at-bat reached triple digits in velocity. The pitch on the ground ball to third clocked in at 101 mph.

Tyler O’Neill, a top outfield prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ organization, flew out to the warning track in right field to end the 1-2-3 inning. Check out the movement on his two-seam fastball during this at-bat:

Second Inning

Dominican third baseman Manny Machado robbed Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman of a base hit to begin the inning:

Martinez then dialed it back with a couple of two-seamers in the 92-94 mph range to begin third baseman Eric Wood‘s at-bat, but painted the bottom of the zone with a 98 mph heater to induce a groundout for the second out of the inning.

Leftfielder Rene Tosoni grounded a two-out single through the middle on a 91 mph two-seam fastball.

Catcher George Kottaras followed with a bouncer through the right side of the infield for a single, sending Tosoni to third base.

Martinez got out of the inning on the very next pitch, getting a groundout to second base off the bat of Milwaukee Brewers minor-leaguer Pete Orr.

Third Inning

Following a four-run bottom of the second by the Dominican offense, Canadian ninth-place hitter Jonathan Malo reached second base on an errant throw by shortstop Jose Reyes. Pompey followed with a bounceout to first base, moving Malo to third.

With a runner on third base and one out, Martinez started Justin Morneau with a changeup for a swing and a miss. He followed with a backdoor slider that caught the outside corner to make the count 0-2.

Martinez blew Morneau away with a high fastball on his next delivery, but *apparently* failed to set before the pitch and was charged with a balk, bringing home Canada’s first run:

Two pitches later, Martinez got Morneau swinging on a 98 mph fastball up in the zone for the second out of the inning, the same pitch and location he balked on:

O’Neill grounded out to short to end the inning with the Dominican Republic in the lead, 4-1.

Fourth Inning

Martinez began the fourth frame by setting down Freeman on strikes. He whiffed on a backdoor slider.

Wood lined a single to right field with one out. Tosoni hit a chopper back to the mound, Martinez got the force at second base, but Reyes bounced the throw to first base, negating the potential double play.

The missed opportunity was all for naught, though, as Kottaras grounded out to second base to end the fourth inninng as well as Martinez’ night. He exited with his team leading, 4-1.

Final line: 4.0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER , 3 H , 0 BB, 3 K, 53 pitches

After his four innings of work, MLB Network cameras highlighted Carlos having some fun in the Domnican dugout:

Including his one Grapefruit League start on March 1 against the Mets, Martinez has hurled seven innings and allowed only the one unearned run in game action so far this spring.

On Thursday, we saw every side of Carlos to which we’ve become accustomed. He took a few mph off his two-seamer when he needed to and he revved up the four-seamer to get some swings-and-misses. His changeup was effective against left-handed hitters, and his slider, typically his nastiest pitch, was used as a luxury Thursday.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

Since Martinez surpassed fifty pitches against Team Canda, he won’t be available for the Dominican Republic the next four days, per World Baseball Classic rules.

That means the next time he would be available for Team DR would be the second round of the tournament, should his team advance through the first round of pool play.

The Dominican Republic plays the United States on Saturday, March 11 at 5:30 pm CST and Colombia on Sunday, March 12, on the last day of Pool C play. In the case that a tiebreaker is necessary between the United States, Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Canada, it would be held on Monday, March 13.

Team USA opens pool play Friday, March 10 against Team Colombia at 5:00 pm CST. All 2017 World Baseball Classic games can be viewed on

Depending on how far the Dominican Republic advances through the Classic, Martinez could be away from St. Louis Cardinals camp as late as March 22. Cardinals closer Seung-Hwan Oh, who pitched for South Korea in the classic, is already on his way back to Jupiter after the Korean team failed to advance out of Pool A with a 1-2 record.

The Cardinals are in great hands with Carlos pitching in St. Louis. It’s also fun to see him pitch for his country in the WBC. He’s also pitching for his childhood friend Oscar Taveras, who grew up with him in the Dominican Republic. As he always does, he knelt behind the mound before his first pitch and traced “OT 18” into the dirt.

Next: Seven Predictions For the 2017 Season

Hat tip to




for the Martinez graphics. Thanks for reading and GO CARDINALS!