Carlos Martinez fights the thin air of "Mile High" Denver to get through his five innings against the Rockies at Coors Stadium.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The MLB National League Wild Card race if alive and still very tight. The St. Louis Cardinals exited San Francisco, after splitting their four game series, one game behind the Giants; and, two games behind the new leader, the New York Mets. With the Cardinals 5-3 win last night over the Colorado Rockies, they are now tied with the Giants sitting one game behind the Mets, as the latter two teams were handed losses in their games last night.
In the first of the three game series, Cardinals Carlos Martinez faced Rockies rookie LHP Tyler Anderson. The thin air of "Mile High" Denver got the best of Martinez. Not sure it was air that affected his first inning, spending 35 pitches to get out of his jam. But not before giving up RBI single to David Dahl for the Rockies early lead. Just not an usual start for the Cardinals starter. He came back in the second and took down the side back to his solid form. However, he would go on only to see five innings, give up yet another RBI single to Nolan Arenado in his third, with a total of 102 PC/67 ST, issued three walks and had six strikeouts. It was the base running that hampered Martinez.
Anderson proved to be a strong adversary in his first appearance facing the Cardinals. Even though, the Cardinals found a way. He had taken down the side in his first two innings. In his third, top-of-the-order Jedd Gyorko sent a double out to right center. The thin air did not affect Randal Grichukat the plate, who followed Gyorko. He took Anderson's first pitch sending a missile out over the left wall for a two-hole shot to take a 2-1 lead.
Martinez was at the plate, hit-by-a-pitch which caught him just below the knee. Immediately being examined, the Cardinals starter was good to go. Fortunately, he will have the next five days to rest a healthy bruise. Anderson would go on to close his third facing his next three hitters. In his fourth, a bit of payback by C Martinez. He had two outs on the board, Gyorko singled and Grichuk was safe at first on an error throw by 3B Arenado. C Martinez back to the plate connects for a two-RBI double down the third baseline into the corner. Matt Carpenter with a RBI single to right, C Martinez in for the run to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead. But, the speedster rounding third to home proved to be a bit much. Oxygen was needed when he returned to the dugout.
Martinez fourth inning was a bit rocky with showing signs of weakening at the knees. A hard run, coupled with "thin air" and "air overload", made him a bit lightheaded and probably a bit queasy stomach. Catcher Yadier Molina was watching closely and had eye contact to the dugout to keep close watch. Manager Mike Matheny, along with a trainer, made a visit to the mound to do a full check. Getting Martinez steady on his feet, he continued the inning, He had two runners on, but got the last out to get out of his jam. In his fifth, he gave up his fifth hit, but proceeded to take out the next three batters to end his night. With all he contributed and went through, he got his 15 win for his season.
Anderson went on for seven innings, five runs with two earned, no walks issued and had seven strikeouts. Ryan Rayburn added one more run for the Rockies in the ninth, against Kevin Siegrist, with a solo home run. Siegrist would get out of his jam on a line-out by Arenado to earn his third save in the Cardinals 5-3 win. Anderson was handed his sixth loss.
GAME TWO - FIRST PITCH AT 7:40 CST
My hope is that there are no more Cardinals that become ill due to the environment of "Mile High". The Rockies are conditioned to the their everyday air level. It does take it's toll on those that are not. For the average "visitor" it takes two or three days to adjust and they aren't running full speed. One fan amazed me with his non-concern of Martinez demise; and, obviously no knowledge to such environmental conditions. "No one else seems to be affected, tell him to pitch". Sometimes, "you just can't fix stupid."
Cardinals Adam Wainwright (11-9/4.51 ERA) will face Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa (8-8/5.22 ERA). Wainwright, on the road, is 5-5 with a 6.15 ERA this season. In the past, the Rockies have hit him with a .268 BA. De La Rosa is 3-2 at home with a 5.40 ERA. Cardinals facing him have been successful with a .333 BA.