Saturday, June 18, 2016

Martinez-Martinez duel on tap at Busch

Though the Cardinals' and Rangers' starters Saturday have the same last name, they find themselves under vastly different circumstances. Carlos Martinez has seemingly turned a corner, while the Rangers will fill Yu Darvish's rotation spot with Nick Martinez.
Last Monday, Cesar Ramos made a spot start against the A's when Darvish went on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder discomfort, but Martinez was called up Tuesday and threw 45 pitches in 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Athletics on Wednesday.
Martinez was 6-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A, including 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his last three starts. This is his first start for the Rangers this season after he went 12-18 with a 4.51 ERA in 45 Major League starts in 2014-15.
Martinez said Wednesday's outing was a reassuring moment for him.
"It got me back in the big league atmosphere," Martinez said. "It doesn't matter how many times you go up, but that first outing from being down there, there's obviously butterflies still there, and you always want to leave a good impression. And I think that outing did that for me."
The Cardinals have found more stability in the rotation through their Martinez. Since losing five straight starts in May, Martinez has won his last three outings and given up a total of four runs over 22 1/3 innings in that span. He threw 122 pitches in his last appearance, when he went 8 1/3 innings and gave up one run on six hits to notch a victory over the Pirates.
Three things to know about this game
• ‪Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus will likely get the day off on Saturday, with Jurickson Profar getting his first start at shortstop. The Rangers want to give Andrus a break from the heat and get Profar back in there after he was out of the starting lineup for two straight games.‬
• St. Louis' Jedd Gyorko started at first base Friday with Texas left-hander Cole Hamels on the mound. Expect Matt Adams to re-appear in the lineup Saturday against the right-hander Martinez.
• Carlos Martinez is averaging almost one strikeout per inning over his last four starts. He has struck out 27 over his last 27 1/3 innings.

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