In an effort to lessen the workload in his first full season in the Majors, the Cardinals will skip Michael Wacha‘s next start, instead going with reliever Carlos Martinez. So far this season Wacha has been one of the Cards most consistent starters, recording a 5-5 record with a 2.79 ERA in 90 1/3 innings pitched. Rather than put an innings limit on Wacha much like the Nationals did to Stephen Strasburg a couple of seasons ago, the Cards have decided to skip a start here and there in order to keep Wacha’s workload down so that he may be available for the playoffs.
Manager Mike Matheny explained the move to reporters on Saturday; “The reason is just like what we’ve said from the beginning — we’re going to give him time, going to have to through the course of the season.” Matheny also elaborated that Wacha had felt some arm fatigue after the Tampa Bay start, prompting the team to begin to enact this policy to keep him healthy.
Wacha’s replacement, Carlos Martinez, made his presence known last week in a spot start for Adam Wainwright, going 4 innings and giving up one unearned run on two hits. Martinez is a relatively small flamethrower from the Dominican Republic who pitched in 21 games for the Cards in 2013 and has already appeared in 31 games this season. Martinez’s season stats are not eye-popping, but his raw ability should prove him a capable starter.
Matheny stated back in April that the club would like to prevent having Martinez go back and forth from the bullpen and rotation, so we may see a cycle of regular Cards starters getting a day off in favor of Martinez taking a start.