APhillies' Last Stand

Matthew RileyContributor ISeptember 15, 2009

CHICAGO - AUGUST 12: Pedro Martinez #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies stretches in the outfield before a game against the Chicago Cubs on August 12, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Phillies defeated the Cubs 12-5. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Matthew Riley

Pedro Martinez's career as a major league baseball player appeared to be finished when the New York Mets neglected to re-sign the three-time Cy Young Award winner after the 2008 season.

However, Martinez's major league career appears rejuvenated with the Mets National League East foe, the Philadelphia Phillies. Martinez is 5-0 in red pinstripes, and the Phillies have won all seven of his starts since he made his debut on Aug. 12 against the Chicago Cubs.

Martinez maintains that he has no ill feelings towards the Mets, the team that signed him to a four-year, $53M contract after the 2004 season, but that sentiment appeared to be false after Martinez stymied the Mets on Sept. 13 infront of the 32nd consecutive sellout crowd in Philadelphia. He mathematically eliminated the injury-ridden Mets from playoff contention and threw 130 pitches as part of an eight scoreless inning, six-hit masterpiece.

The 37-year-old Martinez has not thrown 130 pitches in a game since Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship series. But with a recovered body and mind banded with a winning atmosphere, Martinez is having the success Philadelphia had hoped for when they made the low-risk, high-reward signing in July.

With 20 game left to play in the regular season, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee have a trying decision to make; is Martinez part of the playoff rotation?

Martinez has 11 career playoff starts, and has posted a 3.40 ERA in those appearances. The Phils four other starters -- Hamels, Lee, Happ and Blanton -- have combined for a total of 10 career playoff starts.

If Martinez can continue the success he has had to this point over his final three or four starts, it would be foolish for Manuel not to hand him the ball in Game 3 or Game 4.

After all, this is a Martinez trying to prove to the Mets and the 29 other major league teams that he was not finished after 2008.