After last night’s terrible loss, one thing remains perfectly true. Carlo Martinez, with all of that zeal and flair, is the Cardinals number 1 option on the mound.
When someone thinks of some of the greatest Cardinal pitchers of all time, you think of large imposing figures like Gibson or Carpenter, glaring at hitters from the mound. They had the stuff to put hitters away but they also had the mentality to do it. The mental aspect of this game, some say, is the most important. If you don’t have it, many times, the physical side of the game will also start to betray you. Just look at Rick Ankiel.
Ankiel had all of the talent in the world. Probably would have won multiple Cy’s over the course of his career but he did not have the mind to stay in this game. he could not deal with adversity or competition like the Carpenter’s and Gibson’s could. The Cardinals have another great pitcher on their hands in the form of Carlos Martinez but there have always been questions about his mental state.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 25, 2016
Would he be able to handle the adversity? Could he go more than 5 innings in a game? Was his stuff more cut out for the bullpen? These were all questions that many analysts and fans alike had about Martinez. Boy has he answered all of those. Over his past 5 starts, he has a sub 1.5 ERA. He has been lights out. The only thing that is keeping his win count down is the lack of ability for the Cardinals to close out games.
He is throwing hard. He is throwing filth. And he is doing it all while facing good hitters and difficult situations. For the last month and a half, when the ball was in Martinez’s hands, the Cardinals knew they had a chance to win that game. The same cannot be said for the rest of the rotation.
He can get the groundball double play when he needs to clear the bases. He can get the strike out when there is nothing else to do. He has unlimited tools and next to unlimited potential. We are witnessing the earlier than expected coming out party of Carlos Martinez. Grab a party hat and celebrate.