El Tsunami, or los Tsunami... I don't know, grammar is like command, you definitely need it to be an ace, but you can make the scouts' hearts flutter with uncommon movement. El Gallo is a dynamic personality and it translates to the field. He's had a volatile season so far with wide variances game to game and, at times, even inning to inning. Like a teenager learning to drive for the first time, he consistently dominates, seemingly accepting the role of the fallen Achilles leading the vanguard, but with those occasional fender-bender innings littering his record.
The past start was more in line with his fantastic April where he began to validate the hopes and expectations of fans and professional human trafficker John Mozeliak alike. It's impossible to understand the difficult position Carlos is currently in. A certain tenacity and fire inevitably forged his current skill set, and yet, that very fire is the supposed cause for his wildness. Intuitively, I have to think that it's difficult for someone to develop such an elite skill only to realize that there exists such a crippling Achilles' heel... and then fix it. That last part is the real difficulty, which Carlos is still proving his ability to overcome.
This is what makes Carlos' season must-watch baseball. In a sport of forced narratives, Carlos Martinez is a very special one, but not simply for the career trajectory and expectation, but for the human element.
Based on no scientific knowledge at all, I think these exceptional talents are born from not only physical prowess, but usually also circumstance. Something drives these players, whether it be the "perfect upbringing", or the opposite in Carlos where baseball is their one chance to change the lives around them, or some fount of anxiety as seems to be the case with Zack Greinke. The ability to channel that power source, or lack thereof, can drive a career or short circuit it (Khalil Greene). Attempts to do so can prove dumbfounding because, like that teenager learning to drive a car, you might feel this machine, this engine, has given you limitless power over your environment and you are now all-powerful, but then the next moment, you pop the clutch and are dead in the water rolling backwards down a hill at a stop light with traffic behind you and you don't know what to do please help me he rear ended me he has to pay for that right?
This season is a human story for the Cardinals and for Carlos Martinez. It's about an electric boy learning the meaning of "becoming a man" in one of the most pivotal seasons of his life after the death of his best friend and after providing ample professional and social (media) reasons to doubt him. It's about a pitcher from the Dominican Republic who grew up under his grandmother, harnessing that electric skill-set 1750 miles from home. It's about not letting tumultuous life-experiences short circuit those efforts, but instead channelling them.
Memorial Day is a human story. It’s a story about our neighbours, our sisters, our brothers, fathers and mothers. It's about respecting their sacrifice and the role they play and played on our lives. Their impact is never solely in the past tense, as anyone who has lost someone truly close to them can attest, and that impact has ripple effects reaching further than anyone might initially expect, as in the case of veterans who gave their lives carrying out national objectives.
Remembering the dead many times is an act automated mostly in deference. Not inherently negative, deference is a social choice to show respect for uncommon or hopelessly difficult situations, but it also disengages us. The sacrifices of those veterans who never returned deserve our deference, as well as those close to us who have travelled that one way path, but it's also important to consider the ripples. Their husbands, wives, children and friends face life altering decisions on how to cope and whether they can or will channel such extreme circumstance or whether the anxiety and pain will short circuit those fleeting moments where they can dream again. Many times there really is nothing we can do to help or counsel persons in such dire straits and it's difficult and frustrating to parse their experiences or exact some meaning for ourselves while remaining so disengaged. All we can do is watch and try. Carlos is in the uncomfortable position of publicly going through such a moment, a season, of turmoil.
In a calendar of forced narratives, Memorial Day is a very special one.
The Cardinals came home staggering a bit after losing a series to the best outfield in baseball and then splitting another to the injury plagued Mets. Carlos Martinez wanted (and perhaps to some, needed) to make a statement in this game and managed to. Besides the score, the first thing I typically check is the pitches per inning ratio and for the early innings, Carlos was on top of it today, consistently keeping a 10 pitches/inning pace. He ended the affair with 7 innings pitched using 97 pitches, two-thirds of which were thrown for strikes.
As we move out of the easy going months of spring and into the dead of summer, the rotation is being tested and, at least for this past turn, it has been able to pass on the backs of previously not so reliable arms, Jaime Garcia and Carlos Martinez. Doubts spring from different founts for each, but the fact of the matter is that we have had serious doubts as to their ability to soak up innings. Jaime will likely never rid himself of the black dot that is his shoulder concerns, but Carlos has been thrashing violently through the early goings of 2015 in an attempt to rid himself of his inconsistencies. I think he's doing it.
Carlos faced 1 over the minimum in his first four innings of work, paired with 3 strikeouts. There were a lot of ground balls and not a ton of good contact. In the fifth, Tomas and Owings were able to scratch back to back singles together to start off the inning, with Tomas' not leaving the infield. Martinez then showed the grit that, as Al pointed out, has become a hallmark of his 2015 to bear down and strike out the side.
The offense for their part were able to get a run across in each the first and fourth innings with Adams scoring Wong in the first and then Heyward returning the favor for Adams in the fourth.
Martinez made it through a full seven innings with a final line of 7 IP 5 H 2 BB 8 K facing off against Chase Anderson who countered with 6 IP 10 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K.
Kevin Siegrist had a very shaky 8th, giving up a 2 run homer to Trumbo, before piling on a pair of walks to Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta. Maness was able to come in and save the day, but Rosenthal then had to pitch 2 innings to set up the Jhonny Peralta walk-off homerun. The fact that Rosie was needed for 2 innings is slightly concerning as we have an extended bullpen and haven't really been stressing the pen recently. I appreciate the desire to win at all costs, but the season is 162 games and this type of usage for Rosie in May isn't optimal.
The bottom of the 10th had all of one entry and it was beautiful. Peralta hit a walk off homerun. Thank god we signed that man. He is awesome and I wonder just a little if all the people who complained about signings such as Holliday and Peralta realize how great they've turned out.
Even if some of that is luck, sometimes you just got to realize you're beat, tip your cap and prepare for the next opportunity to complain. - TLR