Cubs: 3 oddities from Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Carlos Martinez / Cardinals
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez’ lack of control at play

Martinez has had his good games and bad games over the course of this season. To be fair, you can chalk up his start against the Cubs on Friday night as a decent outing that was blown open by the Cardinals bullpen. However, his control was not on point as he proceeded to hit three batters over the course of the fourth and fifth innings.

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In the fourth, the St. Louis right-hander made quick work of the first two batters on fewer than six pitches. Then, Martinez hit Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo to put a runner on with two outs. Next batter was shortstop Javier Baez who was uncharacteristically patient and took a walk. That was super impressive from Baez as he is one of the best bad ball hitters in the game and is prone to swinging at balls that are heading toward the broadcast booth.

Next to bat was center fielder Ian Happ. Happ takes a ball, digs in for pitch number two and couldn’t get out of the way of a ball that was thrown behind him. After the two hit batters and walk, the bases are juiced with two outs. This prompts a mound visit from Yadier Molina, as David Bote digs and takes some practice cuts. Impressively, Martinez makes quick work of Bote and gets out of the bases loaded jam, leaving Cubs fans frustrated.

A similar story occurred in the fifth inning for Martinez. The Cubs put a nice inning together and scored a run after a Hoerner double and a Pederson sacrifice fly. It seemed that the damage was done as the bases cleared and there were two outs. MVP candidate Kris Bryant steps in and takes a pitch in the leg. Then Contreras comes up and grounds out to second to end the inning. It was strange because Martinez seemed to be able to work his way out both scenarios in which he hit batters with two outs.