WASHINGTON -- It wasn't a sign of good things to come for his team as the Cards lost, 8-1, to the Nationals on Monday night to fall into a 3-0 NLCS hole, but pitching coach Mike Maddux hit not one but two holes-in-one at the Army-Navy Country Club on Monday
WASHINGTON -- It wasn't a sign of good things to come for his team as the Cards lost, 8-1, to the Nationals on Monday night to fall into a 3-0 NLCS hole, but pitching coach Mike Maddux hit not one but two holes-in-one at the Army-Navy Country Club on Monday morning.
“We saw the odds in doing that was one in 67 million,” Maddux said before Monday’s game. “I’m saying, ‘All right. We got a real good shot tonight.’”
Manager Mike Shildt mentioned Maddux’s feat at his pregame press conference, and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed it. Mozeliak and Maddux were golfing with two U.S. admirals who Maddux knew from his time as the Nationals' pitching coach.
Because they were golfing early in the morning, with the sun shining, no one saw the first hole-in-one go in until the group walked up to the hole and saw the ball.
But Mozeliak saw the second one go in as he was looking for where his ball had landed. Maddux used a hybrid golf club on the first hole-in-one -- which came on the third hole of Army-Navy’s White course -- and an eight iron on the second, which came on the fourth hole of the Blue course.
Maddux said they were the fifth and sixth holes-in-one in his golfing career.
“Kind of used to it by now,” Maddux said with a smile about his reaction to the pair on Monday.
Martínez gets the start in Game 3
José Martínez got the start in right field, batting fifth, for Game 3 in hopes of sparking the offense. The Cardinals had four hits in the first two games of this series, and Martínez had two of them off the bench. He broke up Aníbal Sánchez’s no-hitter in the eighth inning of Game 1, and his double in the eighth inning of Game 2 scored the Cardinals’ only run of the series to date.
Martínez reached on a fielder's choice in the second inning Monday, and added singles in the fourth and seventh innings. The second of those singles led to St. Louis' lone run of the game; Martínez advanced to second on a single by Yadier Molina, then scored when Nationals left fielder Juan Soto slipped fielding Paul DeJong's line drive and made an errant throw home. Martínez finished the night 2-for-4 with a run scored and a strikeout.
“Just looking to mix it up a bit, nothing too crazy, obviously,” Shildt said before the game. “But Josey's earned the opportunity to get in there and create some length in the lineup and in a spot where guys are doing their part in front of him and he can do some damage.”
Martínez replaced Matt Carpenter in the lineup, with Tommy Edman moving back to third base and Molina to the sixth spot, but otherwise the lineup stayed the same. Carpenter was used off the bench in a similar role that Martínez had in the first two games.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg has held left-handers to a .194 batting average this season and right-handers to a .222 average, so that was part of the decision. But the main reason was that Carpenter had a pinch-hitting role in September and for the early games in the NL Division Series.
“I had a conversation with Carp,” Shildt said. “He was great. He knows he's done a great job for us off the bench in September, and he's got some big hits for us in our run here, as well. He's a 'team first' guy. Just the opportunity for Josey to get in there made some sense and Carpenter, [we'll] have him available off the bench for a double switch or to pinch-hit.”
The Cardinals might have sacrificed some outfield defense putting Martínez in right field, but in a must-win game against another elite pitcher, the offense was more important.
“I’d love to have it all, you know?” Shildt said. "Again, tip your hat to the pitching, but we have to give up something at this point. Josey is very capable of playing in the outfield. It's not like he's not, but clearly, we're going to go with a little more offense today and look to get the lead, manage the game.”
Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.