The Pitcher: Carlos Martinez
On a team with Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, Mike Leake is the best pitcher. If you were to tell me that would be the case four years ago, I probably would have laughed at you for hours. Good news for the Phillies is that they will not see Leake this weekend. However, they will face Wacha and Wainwright.
Neither one will be the focus of our outlook today. Instead, we will concentrate on the young Carlos Martinez, whose explosive stuff leads the Cards in strikeouts this season (88 in 79.1 innings). Of his 12 starts, eight of them have been of the quality variety. His 1.10 WHIP and 3.39 ERA are both third on the staff behind Leake and Lance Lynn.
Martinez has racked up ten consecutive starts with six or more innings pitched. He has allowed more than five hits twice and is yet to have a game without any free passes. He has allowed more than three earned runs only twice.
The 25-year-old flamethrower has only faced four current Phils. Only Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera have had success against him. Herrera has two hits against Martinez in three at-bats and hopes to continue that success. His 2.25 ERA against the Phillies, believe it or not, is one of the higher marks he has against a team. The Phils own an extremely low .180 team average against him.
When he gets his first two outs of the evening, he will have reached 300 innings pitched at Busch Stadium. He owns a career 3.52 ERA at home and a 1.27 WHIP at his home park.
The 25-year-old has high-end velocity on all of his pitches, including his huge, sweeping breaking ball. He throws his slider in the mid-to-high-80s. His fastball touches the high-90s and can get into the 100 MPH range. He uses both fastballs, slider, and change pretty equally. Of his 88 punch-outs, his fastball and slider combination have accounted for 72 of them.
The struggling Philadelphia offense may be running into the wrong guy in this series to fix their continued issues with consistency.