Nick Martinez has gotten off to a great start over the first two months of the 2015 season and exceeded any expectations that were put on him after he was put into the starting rotation out of necessity with injuries to Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.
Martinez was in the same boat last year as an unheralded rookie and had his ups and downs before finishing the season on a strong note over his final six starts. Thrust into the rotation again this year, he continued his hot run of play by putting up 10 straights starts of allowing three or fewer earned runs for a franchise-record streak of 16 games dating back to last year.
Then, he stepped on the mound against the White Sox last week — and his wheels came flying off.
Martinez allowed seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, failing to control his fastball and just seemingly didn't have anything working as the White Sox had their way with him. It was not only the first bad start for Martinez this year, it was a straight-up clunker.
Now, he'll look for redemption on Tuesday night as the Rangers look to get back in the win column after a loss Sunday in Kansas City. To get that, he'll have to beat the worst team in the division and one of the worst teams in baseball in the Oakland A's, but he'll have to outpitch one of the best pitchers in the game in Sonny Gray.
Martinez has faced Oakland twice this year — allowing just two earned runs in 13 innings, including a seven-inning, scoreless outing in the season's first week. He'll be looking for more of that on Tuesday night.