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Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal own the late innings for Cardinals

Oct 25, 2013, 12:02 AM EDT

Even as Michael Wacha was through five scoreless, one thing seemed pretty clear: his pitch count up to 90, the sixth would be his final inning.

That sixth inning didn’t go as planned, but the seventh through ninth innings sure did. The Cardinals rallied from 2-1 down beat the Red Sox 4-2 in Game 2, with Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal striking out six in three scoreless innings of relief.

Martinez, who initially signed with the Red Sox out of the Dominican Republic, only to land with the Cardinals after MLB voided the deal, got six outs. After a clean seventh, he got into trouble by giving up a pair of groundball singles in the eighth. However, he was able to get Mike Napoli to pop out to end the rally.

Rosenthal got the bottom of the Boston’s order, which has produced nothing in October, and made quick work of Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and pinch-hitter Daniel Nava, striking out all three.

As good as Edward Mujica was for the Cardinals for most of the season, the team probably caught a break when he was injured down the stretch, rendering him ineffective and resulting in Rosenthal going into the closer’s role. It’s possible — perhaps not likely, but possible — that Martinez wouldn’t have even made the postseason roster if not for Mujica’s injury. He was only handed his first late lead with 10 days to go in the regular season. Mujica was far more likely to have a Joaquin Benoit moment against these Red Sox than either of the young gunslingers are. Rosenthal and Martinez have combined to allow five homers in 121 1/3 innings this season.

At least the Red Sox have had a look at both now. They actually got a run off Martinez in Game 1. Rosenthal is nothing if not predictable; it’s nothing but high-90s fastballs and hit them if you can. Few do. The Red Sox will certainly see Martinez again, and probably Rosenthal, too, if the Cardinals can continue taking leads into the ninth. Against the Tigers, the Red Sox’s best hope was to outlast the starters and prey on the pen. Versus these Cardinals, especially the next two games with Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn starting, they’re going to have to feast on the starters some in order to prevail.

  1. APBA Guy - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    The St. Louis bullpen can throw. I think the slowest FB I saw from them was 95.

  2. cardslifer - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Good CHEAP power arms!!!

    The Cardinals scouts should be getting more credit than they have.

    And BTW I’m pretty sure Red Sawxx tried signing Martinez before The Red Birds did but something fell through.

    My thinking is that with Boston’s lack of depth,
    Cardinals would be facing him as a starter if they were able to sign him.
    He’s got the stuff, just hope he doesn’t turn into a Julian Taveras type nutcase.

    • hustleandflomax - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      Julian Tavares didn’t have near the swing-and-miss stuff that Martinez has. I am more worried about Martinez being able to harness that filth and ending up like Carlos Marmol.

      • spudchukar - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        Nobody deserves that comparison. I understand where you are going, but Marmol more resembles Ichabod Crane than any “head” case.

      • hustleandflomax - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:15 AM

        Too funny!

    • bfunk1978 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      There were some identity issues because his mom died very young. The Cardinals got a huge discount from him because they were willing to help him wade through it. The Red Sox got scared off when he was barred from signing with them for a year.

  3. schlom - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    It was great watching Rosenthal just get the ball and fire fastballs by the hitter – if only every other pitcher worked so quickly.

    • bfunk1978 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Wacha tried to but the Sox kept stepping out. There’s a reason games take so long at Fenway compared to everywhere else and it’s rarely the visitor’s fault.

  4. cohnjusack - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    What to the 2006, 2011 and 2013 title runs all have in common?

    The Cardinals switched closer’s in September.

    Jason Isringhausen went down with a hip injury in September of 2006 and the closer role went to Adam Wainwright
    Jason Motte took over the closer role from Fernando Salas in September of 2011 as Salas lost effectiveness
    Trevor Rosenthal took over the closer role for Mujica in 2013 as Mujica lost slumped.

  5. emykk - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    I told my husband right before Ortiz stepped to the plate that they needed to take Wacha out. He was clearly getting tired, and who wouldn’t be, throwing the way he does, when he was already over 100 on pitch count? He did a great job tonight, I am glad they got the win, even with Ortiz’s homerun!

    • hustleandflomax - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      Ortiz will not see another pitch to hit with runners on, hopefully. Dude has that uncanny ability to step up when the heat is on.

  6. nbjays - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Man! Three young guns, the oldest of which is just 23. These Cards pitchers are amazing to watch. Wacha struggled a bit but once Martinez and Rosenthal took over, the Sox looked kind of anemic at the plate. They clocked Rosenthal’s last pitch to Nava at 99.

    I’m now torn as to who I want to win this series. The AL fan in me wants Boston to win, since the NL has the last 3 WS titles. The feel-good story fan wants “Postseason Legend Carlos Beltran” to finally get a ring. And the baseball fan part of me doesn’t really give a rats ass who wins as long as it goes seven games. Moar baseball!!

    • hustleandflomax - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      Yeah, the way Timmy and Joe were slobbering all over Wacha’s game last night was a little over-the-top. The kid was good, don’t get me wrong, but the control wasn’t there like it has been. His change-up is devastating but a good hitter like Ortiz will pound that pitch if it’s left up, as we saw.

      Lackey’s performance deserved a higher praise. He was quite impressive.

      • nbjays - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:16 AM

        Lackey was especially impressive in the context of his own history. He is pitching way over his head right now. Buchholtz has always been filthy but Lackey has been very hittable over his career.

      • spudchukar - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        Yep. If the Sox gain confidence from the 2 runs they scored against Wacha, they should be careful, cause the A & M grad didn’t have the location he has exhibited lately, and will more than likely be better in his next outing. There were a couple of good at bats that helped elevate his pitch count, but mostly it was due to a lack of command, at least the precision he displayed in the previous 4 outings.

  7. ironyisadeadscene - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    Rosenthal was dealing heat all around the strike zone yet the Red Sox hitters (for the most part) chose to watch them go by until they were down by two strikes. Woeful. Great job by the Cards bullpen.

    • hustleandflomax - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      The way Rosenthal works quickly and aggressively pounds the strike zone is a thing of beauty.

  8. paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    The linked to article on WEEI isn’t totally correct. When the Red Sox signed Martinez (Matias), he was a shortstop prospect, not a pitching prospect. Over the time between that deal being voided and the Cardinals signing him, he became more of a pitching prospect, but because of his size, many thought (and still think) that he will be limited to the pen and won’t hold up physically for 200 innings.

    • nbjays - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      I’m sure the Cards are very happy with him being limited to the pen, especially if he pitches like he did last night.

      • paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        They don’t plan on him being limited to the pen though. The plan is for him to start. Thus far, he has held his velocity in starts (both in MLB and MiLB) just fine.

        He will get a chance to make the rotation in ST, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosenthal does as well…with Lynn and Kelly moving to the pen or possibly being traded…they have a number of other quality starting options as well, including lefty Tyler Lyons.

      • gibbyfan - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        i hope they do trade lynn……hope he has a great game in the WS to increase his market value so they can get a SS

      • spudchukar - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        I want to keep Kelly, but I agree that Lynn is most likely a goner. Rosenthal’s drop and drive style, is conducive to starting, but his demeanor and success closing is going to make it difficult to move him. But Motte is returning so who knows. So many options, so little time. A dilemma other franchises can only dream of.

      • gibbyfan - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        SO true Spud…really the only problem they have is SS. otherwise they have the talent on the roster or in the minors…………would like to see them bring Beltron back for a year if they can…….and who knows–wonder if they will take a shot at Furcal

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