Game two tonight features Nationals right-hander J.D. Martin searching for his initial win of 2010 against right-hander Jon Garland of the San Diego Padres (8-5, 3.24).
It is Martin’s seventh start of the season, and he is looking for his first win since September 18, 2009 against the Mets in New York.
Despite his last loss in Atlanta, Martin will not change his strategy to go after hitters from the start.
“I am going to keep the same approach as I always do. I am going to try to get ahead of guys, throw strikes, keep the ball down, work that curveball in there, try to get deep in the game and give us a chance to win.”
Last week with some time off, Martin got time to warm up during games in the bullpen.
“That was a little different. I didn’t get in the game from there. It was a different perspective. It was fun to be out there with the guys. I got two extra days this week. It was good on my body and I am ready to get going.”
One of Martin’s top pitches is his 12-to-6 break curve ball. He has been throwing it with success in games since his high school years.
“I started throwing it a little bit in little league. My Dad monitored it and I didn’t throw it too much so I could save my arm. High school is where I really started throwing it and it became a really good pitch for me.
Pitching coach Steve McCatty has been emphasizing working the counts with J.D. and making sure he does not rely on just one pitch to try to get guys out.
“I would love to throw one pitch and get everyone out. I want to throw the least pitches for the longest period of time (in the game). It is all about mixing it up. It keeps them guessing too so they don’t sit on one pitch.”
Garland came over from the White Sox at the trade deadline last season, and will make his 18th start of the season and 306th of his career tonight against the Nationals. Garland has cooled off a bit after a scorching 6-2 start, going 2-3 with a 5.30 ERA his last six outings.
He is 4-4 with a 3.97 ERA away from Petco Park. He started the May 30 game versus the Nats in San Diego, allowing a pair of solo homers by Ryan Zimmerman over seven innings (sound familiar?) and did not factor in the decision. He is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA vs. the Nats in five career starts.