Cardinals vs Mets Recap: Martinez starts, Greenwood premieres, and Cards win 6-2

Oscar Taveras's best friend. - Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Tsunami and the Cardinals record a nice and largely stress-free win in the first of a three-game set.

At long last, Carlos Martinez made his starting debut, and the Cardinals hitters belted out a dozen hits and six runs to back him.

This was that fun and easy win all of you have been asking for.

Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez made his first major-league start tonight--BUT WILL IT BE HIS LAST?

Just kidding. Martinez has the talent to be a very good starting pitcher and will surely get more opportunities to prove it, this year or next. As a reliever he has been by turns electric and erratic, and that was exactly how he pitched tonight. Here's what I mean, in stat-form:

  • 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER 1 R (unearned), 4 BB (1 was intentional), 3 K;
  • 6 ground balls, 1 fly ball, 3 line drives;
  • 59 pitches, of which 31 were strikes, 28 balls;
  • 3 whiffs on fastball, 2 on changeup, 3 on curveball;
  • 1 four-seamer thrown at 101.0 mph, with average velocity of 98.3 mph (h/t Brooks Baseball)

Carlos was at his best in the first two innings, which included this unfair sequence to Bobby Abreu: 96 mph fastball for a ball low, 98 mph strike on the outside corner, 98 mph strike on the inside corner, and 89 mph changeup (classified as a fastball) that got Abreu whiffing for the strikeout.

Here's that last pitch and Abreu's shame:

Cmartabreu_zpsf9f3d23b_medium

Electric.

Unfortunately, Carlos pitched himself into trouble several times, losing pretty much all of his command for entire at-bats, which we can all agree is anathema to starting-pitcher success. In the fourth inning, for example, with runners on second and third and two outs, Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom lined Martinez's first-pitch 95-mph fastball to the right side of the diamond, which would've scored the tying and go-ahead runs for the Mets--but, mirabile dictu, he hit it right at Kolten Wong, who jumped and caught the liner for the second out of the inning. Martinez then threw a wicked two-strike curveball past Eric Young, Jr. for the third--and Martinez's final--out.

The Cardinals rallied in the fifth inning for four runs--Matt Adams hit his third triple of the year--and there was no bigger cheerleader than Carlos Martinez. He was so proud, puffed up, and happy, strutting and joking around like a shorter Joe Kelly. He personally brought Matt Adams a cup of water after he (Adams) scored on a Jhonny Peralta single. Martinez then went and rested for a second on the top perch of the dugout steps,

Cmartstare_zps405b37a4_medium

and here let me propose a new nickname: El Gallo.

EL GALLO.

Watch him strut.

Roosterstrut_zps327dc6a2_medium

Nick Greenwood

Greenwood made his major-league debut tonight, and he did so well against the Mets lineup that it sort of dampens Martinez's exciting start a bit. After Carlos departed, Greenwood pitched 3.1 innings, getting 3 Ks and allowing 1 BB and 1 ER. His fastest pitch of the night was barely 90 mph, but his slider was breaking well and seemed hard for the Mets to pick up. He threw 60 pitches, 38 for strikes.

Oh, and he received the win for his efforts, obviously his first win in the majors. Whatever a pitcher win means these days, I'm glad that Nick Greenwood now has one. And even though it's slightly unfair--given that Martinez pitched more of the game than any other Cardinal tonight--I promise you that neither we nor C-Mart will care about it after El Gallo wins his second Cy Young Award.

Matt Holliday

The ur-Matt went 2-3 with a K on the night. His RBI single in the fifth gave the Cards a 3-1 lead, but more important by far was that this was his 1,000th RBI in the majors.

Once the crowd was told that this was so, they gave Holliday a very nice and long ovation, which Fox Sports Midwest showed all of, but they failed to show Holliday's reaction to it. My guess is that he threw a handful of sunflower seeds into his mouth and flexed his lats to get some surreptitious back-muscle work in--but I mean, what if he smiled? What if a current of recognition and good will was exchanged between him and the thousands of clapping fans? Was there a rapprochement? I don't know. Would've been nice to see his reaction, though.

At any rate, KUDOS TO MATT HOLLIDAY.

Notes:

  • Martinez, Greenwood, and Seth Maness--who pitched the final four outs of the game--all batted for themselves at least once, because the Cardinals were playing with a four-man bench.
  • Jon Jay had a great night, going 2-4 with a double and a walk.
  • Matt Adams's triple was his third on the season; he is now tied for the team lead with Peter Bourjos. Adams is hitting for a 139 wRC+, which is very good.
  • Maness made a fantastic play to throw out Anthony Recker on a dribbler in the ninth. Good on you, Seth.

WPA graph:


Source: FanGraphs

The series continues tomorrow in St. Louis at 7:15pm, Michael Wacha going up against Jon Niese.

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