The St. Louis Cardinals have been arguably the best team in baseball the last two weeks and a large reason for that is they are starting to get healthy. But just as they are hitting their stride, they placed Carlos Martinez to the 10-day injured list with a right ankle injury.
Martinez, 29, has been one of the Cardinals’ best pitchers this season. He has a 4.35 ERA in 41.1 innings that was largely inflated by a six-run outing against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 16. In three starts spanning from April 21 to May 2, he pitched 21.1 innings and allowed only two earned runs, illustrating why the organization was so high on him this spring.
His most recent appearance, a five-run clunker against the Colorado Rockies, could be pinpointed to the ankle injury he suffered while celebrating Jack Flaherty’s home run only a day earlier. The Cardinals were hopeful that he would not need to spend any time on the injured list. But now that he is on the IL, they must go about replacing him — and that could prove easier said than done.
In his absence, the Cardinals called up Johan Oviedo. The 23-year-old, who is one of the team’s top pitching prospects, has allowed seven runs in his last nine innings at the major-league level. He has shown signs of being an effective starter, highlighted by his scoreless 4.2 inning outing against the Milwaukee Brewers.
But the Cardinals will need an all hands on deck effort to replace Martinez, who they are hopeful will not be out an extended amount of time. Their bullpen has the arms capable of eating innings in case Oviedo or any other of the starters are unable to pitch deep into games. But losing Martinez for any length of time is a blow to the rotation — and that’s not something many people outside the organization saw coming this early into the season.