The St. Louis Cardinals have a Carlos Martinez problem
Carlos Martinez started the season so well, but his struggles have put the St. Louis Cardinals rotation in an even worse position.
The St. Louis Cardinals have a Carlos Martinez problem.
Martinez, a right-handed, had started the season off strong. He was locating his pitches with more consistency. His velocity was solid. He had a string of starts in which he looked unhittable, generating weak contact and allowing only two earned runs in 21.2 innings, lowering his season ERA to 3.72.
Martinez, 29, looks nothing like that pitcher. His ERA has soared to 6.21. His command is gone. He has allowed at least five runs in three of his last five outings, including a 0.2 inning appearance in which he allowed 10 runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Kwang-hyun Kim all on the injured list, the Cardinals have no choice but to wait it out with Martinez. They simply don’t have the depth to option him to Triple-A. But his struggles have heightened an already dire need for starting pitchers.
The Cardinals will explore many options. Jon Gray and German Marquez of the Colorado Rockies make sense. Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals makes sense, though there’s doubts he’ll ever be made available. Other options could include Michael Pineda, Jose Berrios, Jordan Lyles and Madison Bumgarner.
But the Cardinals need to figure out what is going on with Martinez, and fast. There is hope they can fix him again. After all, he was pitching at a high level only a month ago. But it’s yet another reminder of how volatile Martinez is and how the organization cannot count on him in the rotation.
Perhaps they shift him to the bullpen later in the season. But for right now, he’s stuck in the rotation and it‘s already cost the Cardinals two games. With the way Martinez is pitching, it could cost them even more.