Comparing Carlos Martinez’s 2 Starts

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Martinez has made 2 starts this season, and they were pretty much polar opposites. His opening day start against the Cubs was a masterpiece. He had a pitching line of 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 BB, 10 K, 0 HBP, 0 WP, with a game score of 76.

Start 2 against the Reds was not as strong. In 5 innings, he gave up 6 H, 6 R (5 ER), 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HBP, 1 WP with a game score of 35. The team also let him down with 3 errors behind him.

What changed in a week?

In the first start, he used the following pitches:

According to Brooks Baseball, he didn’t throw his fastballs as much, abandoned the curve (albeit he didn’t throw it much in game 1), and threw more sliders and changeups. I don’t know if this would be the cause for it.

What about velocity change?

Velocity change was minimal between the 2 games; if anything, his velocity was slightly up.

The issue might have been his vertical location, or where the pitches finished in the zone.

In his first game, he kept the 4-seam high and everything else low. In game 2, the sinker, change and slider were all closer to center, which translates to higher in the zone. He was definitely more hittable.

Let’s look at grooved pitches, or those that were thrown in the middle of the plate.

That 4-seam fastball went from being unhittable to being hit around more than 7% of the times he threw it, which is about 3 pitches. While 3 pitches may not seem like much, it’s pretty big considering he threw 16 less pitches than his first start and 3 other pitches led to a wild pitch and 2 hit batters.

His slugging against per pitch type also was impacted.

His 4-seam was his money pitch during the first start; it got killed on his second start. He also saw a slight increase in his sinker as well.

Basically, Martinez needs to control his fastballs better in his next start to be effective. When he’s not locating his fastball, the effectiveness of his slider and change decreases.

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