Emerson Martinez pitched six innings of shutout baseball, but had his quality start Thursday night spoiled after he left the game in the Down East Wood Ducks' 3-2 home loss to the Lunchburg Hillcats.
The Woodies (11-24, 46-59) now have the worst record in the Carolina League in both the second half and overall. Down East has won just 7 games in the month of July, losing 18.
But Martinez has performed well in July. The ace for the Wood Ducks has allowed just 8 earned runs in four starts. Three of his starts in July were quality starts. In those starts, Martinez pitched 18 1/3 innings, allowed 11 hits, 2 earned runs, and picked up 11 strikeouts. But Martinez was saddled with 2 losses and a no-decision in those starts.
“Every start is different so if I get a win, I’m trying to do everything I can to give the team an opportunity to get that win,” Martinez said. “It’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team. Just put my pitches there and hopefully we can get a win.”
The 23-year-old Venezuelan pitcher has been one of the best pitchers in the Carolina League, but people who look at the obvious stats may not know it. Martinez has a 4-10 record in 18 starts, but he’s gotten less than 2 runs per start from his offense.
“His pitches, everything he does, we’ve been pretty happy with it to this point in the season,” pitching coach Steve Mintz said. “Obviously from an organizational standpoint, there’s way more things we look at other than win-loss records and ERAs. What we’re looking at is the growth, the pitches, the quality of the pitches that he’s able to throw, are you able to throw pitches where want to in counts that we need to? As an organization, that’s the things we’re looking at.”
Analytics say Martinez is a really good pitcher as he is sixth in ground-ball rate among starters in the league at 47.2 percent and fifthin the league in swinging strike rate at 12.7 percent.
Kai Jones can be contacted at email@example.com or 252-559-1078. Follow him on Twitter at @MMJKaiJones and on Facebook at Kai Jones.