It was only the ninth day of March, but with his country's colors on his chest, Carlos Martinez pitched with an effort one usually sees in October.Martinez, making the first World Baseball Classic start of his career for Team Dominican Republic, came out firing Thursday night at Marlins Park in
It was only the ninth day of March, but with his country's colors on his chest, Carlos Martinez pitched with an effort one usually sees in October.
Martinez, making the first World Baseball Classic start of his career for Team Dominican Republic, came out firing Thursday night at Marlins Park in a 9-2 win over Canada. The Cardinals' ace employed an electric fastball that twice topped 100 mph, allowing one run and striking out three over four innings of work to set the tone in the Dominicans' Pool C opener against Canada. The Dominican Republic next plays Team USA on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV and MLB Network.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Martinez's arsenal was in midseason form, particularly in the first inning as it was clear he was pitching with some extra adrenaline under the Classic spotlight. The youngest member of the Dominicans' pitching staff recorded seven pitches at 95 mph or faster in the game's opening frame, according to Statcast™, including two fastballs that hit the gun at 100.4 and 100.6 mph. Martinez threw 19 pitches that measured 100 mph or greater during the entire 2016 season for St. Louis.
"I had good focus, and I said, 'This is my game,' and I wasn't nervous or anything," Martinez said. "I simply worked as I always do."
Martinez rolled through two scoreless frames before allowing his only run in the third. Canada shortstop Jonathan Malo advanced to second on a throwing error by Dominican Republic shortstop Jose Reyes, and later came home on a balk call on Martinez.
Martinez recovered to retire the rest of the Canadian side in the third before tossing a scoreless fourth. The right-hander finished with a total of 53 pitches, meaning he is not eligible to pitch again in Miami. Martinez would again become available if the Dominican Republic is able to advance to second-round play at San Diego's Petco Park.
"Sometimes you want to pitch more than you can, but you have to respect the rules and have to respect the game," Martinez said. "I try to throw as few pitches as possible because I enjoy competing, to participate, and that's what I do."
The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.