Martinez is expected to transition back to a starting role in 2019, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Martinez pitched out of the bullpen for the final two months of the 2018 season after making three trips to the disabled list with arm and right-side issues. He eventually took over as the team's closer for the final three weeks of the season and converted all five of his save chances. While manager Mike Shildt acknowledged he wouldn't mind Martinez back in the ninth inning in 2019, the skipper noted the plan is for the right-hander to prepare as a starter this offseason. "I think the front office and everybody would like to see him show up in spring training as a starter. I like those sentiments," Shildt said. Across 118 career major-league starts, Martinez owns a 3.36 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 8.9 K/9.
Martinez threw a perfect inning and earned his fifth save of the season in Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Cubs. Martinez picked up his first save since Sept. 21 to keep the Cardinals' playoff hopes alive and has now converted all five of his save opportunities this season. His ERA sits at 3.11 with a 117:60 K:BB over 118.2 innings this season.
Martinez (8-6) struck out three in a 5-4 win over the Giants on Saturday, giving up two hits and two walks over two innings of work. Martinez picked up his first win since Aug. 24, holding San Francisco off the board in the final two innings. His ERA sits at 3.19 for the season with a 113:58 K:BB over 115.2 innings, and the 27-year-old is expected to serve as the Cardinals' closer for the remainder of the season.
Martinez earned his fourth save of the season in Friday's 5-3 victory over the Giants. He allowed one hit and struck out two over one inning of work. The former Cardinals' starter picked up his first save since Sept. 10 with Friday's scoreless ninth frame, and he has now converted all four of his save opportunities on the year. His ERA sits at 3.25 for the season with a 110:56 K:BB ratio over 113.2 innings, and he'll likely continue to maintain his hold on the closer duties for St. Louis provided that he remains effective.
Martinez, who secured his second save Sunday against the Tigers, has officially been designated as the team's closer by manager Mike Shildt, Tyler Fenwick of MLB.com reports. The news from Shildt came postgame Sunday, as the manager confirmed he'd actually informed Martinez of the news prior to the contest. The right-hander essentially won a near week-long audition for the closer's job that also included hard-throwing rookie Jordan Hicks. Martinez was able to impress by firing four scoreless innings over a seven-day period, leading Shildt to state that "we feel good about what Carlos can bring" to the ninth-inning role. Meanwhile, former closer Bud Norris is expected to see his bullpen slotting "reshuffled" so that he can be placed in less high-leverage scenarios for the time being, according to Shildt.