Pittsburgh has its first run in this NLDS Game 5.
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright cruised through his first six innings and got two quick outs to open the seventh, but Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter slipped while trying to pick up a Justin Morneau infield single and then Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma misplayed a Marlon Byrd groundball to put runners at first and second. Pedro Alvarez then drove Morneau home with a grounder that hit off the first base bag and sailed high over the glove of less-than-agile Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams. Alvarez is the first player in major league history to register an RBI in the first six postseason games of his career.
The host Cardinals still lead 3-1 as Game 5 moves along to the top of the eighth inning.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.