Nolan Arenado’s reunion with the Colorado Rockies will continue when the St. Louis Cardinals host them again Saturday.
In the first game of a three-game series at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals blanked the Rockies 5-0 for their seventh victory in their last nine games. That was Colorado’s 12th loss in 14 road games this season.
The Rockies traded Arenado to the Cardinals in a blockbuster offseason deal. He played in Colorado for eight seasons.
“It’s a little different, but at the end of the day, it’s another series, a series that we want to win,” Arenado said Friday. “It’s the Cardinals versus the Rockies, and I think that’s the big picture. Just kind of trying to focus on that.”
Rockies manager Bud Black is trying to do the same despite his affinity for his team’s former star.
“Nolan is a special player,” Black said Friday. “The thing about Nolan, he’s a great worker, he’s passionate about baseball. He loves to play. One thing I always loved about Nolan is his love of the game and actually playing. The field was a place he wanted to be.
“I’m happy for him that he seems to be a really good spot.”
The Cardinals will start Carlos Martinez (2-4, 3.72 ERA) on Saturday. He threw eight shutout innings in his last start, a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 2.
He has allowed just two earned runs in his last 21 1/3 innings.
“I feel strong,” Martinez said. “Right now, I got the command, I got everything. I believe in myself, I trust myself. I believe in the defense, on the offense. Everything is good right now.”
Martinez is 4-1 with a 5.57 ERA in 13 career appearances against Colorado, including six starts. Charlie Blackmon (10-for-21, double, triple, homer, two RBIs) has had success against Martinez in his career while Trevor Story (0-for-7) has not.
The Cardinals will also have star catcher Yadier Molina available, having activated him from the 10-day injured list prior to the game.
Chi Chi Gonzalez (1-0, 4.38 ERA) is coming of his second-worst start of the season. He allowed four runs on five hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings as the Rockies suffered an 8-4 road loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals. Harrison Bader (2-for-4, homer, two RBIs) and Tommy Edman (1-for-3, walk) have gotten good looks against Gonzalez, while Paul Goldschmidt (0-for-5) has not.
The Rockies adjusted their roster for this series, optioning reliever Jose Mujica to Triple-A while recalling infielder Connor Joe to bolster their bench. Joe was used as a pinch hitter Friday, and that will be his primary role.
“He was one of our better performers in the spring — came into camp ready to go, ready to show us that he could help us,” Black said. “It was a tough decision at the end to send him back, but he was on our radar from day one as a guy that could potentially be a bench bat for us, start some games at first, start some games in left.”
First baseman C.J. Cron was scratched from the starting lineup Friday with lower back tightness. Matt Adams started in his place, and he could fill in again Saturday if Cron remains out.
–Field Level Media