JUPITER, Florida (KMOX) – There is a new top of the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation for the first time since 2012. Carlos Martinez will be the Opening Day starter, manager Mike Matheny said Wednesday.
Martinez makes his second start of spring training for the Cardinals, Wednesday at noon. He threw three shutout innings in his first appearance, walked one, and allowed only one hit. He was away from camp to represent the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic.
Martinez posted a 1.13 ERA in eight innings at the Classic. The Dominicans were ousted in the second stage of the WBC, and finished third in a pool with the US, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.
Adam Wainwright has been the first Cardinals pitcher to take the mound in each of the last four seasons. This spring he has boasted about improvements to his curveball and entire pitch repertoire. However, in 10 innings pitched he has a 10.97 ERA.
But for reference, in 2010 when he finished second in the CY Young Award race, his spring training ERA was just above six.
Matheny told both Wainwright and Martinez about his decision, Wednesday. He said Martinez was clearly excited, and complimented Wainwright on being a ‘consummate pro’ when taking the news.
Matheny says his conversation with Wainwright included an interesting story from the 35-year-old, who remembered how Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitcher coach Leo Mazzone used to choose the Opening Day starter on a staff that included Hall of Fame pitchers Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux. The decision was made solely dependent on the total number of Cy Young votes each pitcher received in the previous season.
Wainwright will pitch the second game of the regular season, with the rest of the rotation still to be determined, Matheny says. Lance Lynn and Mike Leake will get the last two starts before the season begins, on March 30 and 31 against the Memphis Redbirds and Springfield Cardinals, respectively.
On Opening Day the Cardinals host the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, April 2 at 7:15 p.m.