Cards’ Carlos Martinez aims to solidify standing vs. D-backs

MLB

The injury-depleted St. Louis Cardinals will give struggling starting pitcher Carlos Martinez another chance when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

Martinez (3-9, 6.78 ERA) will start the second contest of a three-game series after St. Louis posted a 7-1 win in the opener. He is 0-5 with a 13.73 ERA in June, during which he has allowed 31 hits and walked 17 batters in 19 2/3 innings.

“Carlos has to pitch better to keep his spot,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “But when you look at internal options … the options are somewhat limited. Carlos will get a start on Tuesday and we’ll evaluate from there. But there’s no secret that he and that rotation needs to be more consistent.”

The Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks on Monday for just their eighth victory in the past 27 games. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks took their 22nd loss in their past 24 games overall and their 26th defeat in their past 27 road contests.

Shildt said of the Cardinals’ struggles, “We weren’t going those little things, subtle things that add up. We’ve been doing them more offensively, we did them (Monday) from a pitching standpoint, and that’s how you win baseball games.”

Martinez allowed three runs on three hits in six innings against the Diamondbacks on May 27. He struck out six batters and walked just one in a no-decision.

He is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA and four saves in 13 appearances, including seven starts, against Arizona. Martinez has had success against Nick Ahmed (0-for-13, five strikeouts), Asdrubal Cabrera (2-for-12) and Eduardo Escobar (1-for-8) in his career.

The Diamondbacks will start left-hander Caleb Smith (2-3, 3.03), who has pitched well since moving into the rotation. He is 0-2 in five June starts, but with a 2.73 ERA.

In his past two starts, Smith allowed one run on five hits and eight walks over 12 innings. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo pushed him back a day in the rotation by starting Jake Faria on Monday.

“Caleb has been throwing the ball extremely well,” Lovullo said Monday. “Giving him an extra day’s rest wasn’t going to hurt him.

“We feel like this is the best combination moving forward to help us win a baseball game today, tomorrow, the next day.”

Smith pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in his first career outing against the Cardinals on May 27, striking out five. He wasn’t involved in the decision as the Diamondbacks lost 5-4 in 10 innings.

Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, now with St. Louis, both homered off Smith in 2018 when he was pitching for the Miami Marlins.

The Diamondbacks placed outfielder Ketel Marte on the 10-day injured list Monday due to a strained left hamstring.

“We’re trying to figure out moving forward what’s going to be our best lineup without him the next couple of weeks,” Lovullo said.

Right-hander Humberto Castellanos moved up from Triple-A Reno to replace him on the roster.

The Cardinals also adjusted their bullpen for the series, adding right-hander Roel Ramirez and left-hander Brandon Waddell from Triple-A Memphis on Monday while optioning righties Seth Elledge and Jake Woodford to that affiliate.

“The way we’re currently playing, we have to keep this perpetual churn to find the right mix,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “Trying to find that right formula that gets us to the next day. Clearly when you’re not getting starting pitching that’s going deep into games, it’s putting different types of pressure on the bullpen.”

–Field Level Media

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