While doubleheaders can be draining for teams, two wins in one day makes it worth the effort. Last night, Pedro Martinez pitched 8 amazing shut-out innings against his former team, the New York Mets. Martinez looks like he has been sipping from the fountain of youth; he threw 130 pitches, which is his longest outing since May 1, 2001.
Charlie Manuel almost pulled his starter from the game with 2 outs recorded in the 8th inning, but Martinez convinced him he could get the final out. Carlos Ruiz helped by tossing David Murphy out at 3rd base as he attempted to steal, which ended the inning. Martinez is now 5-0 as a Phillie with a 2.87 ERA. Whatever magic potion he is drinking, please pass the cup this way.
As far as offense, there pretty much wasn’t any. Chase Utley hit a long RBI single in the first inning to score Jimmy Rollins. After that, it was 8 innings of nothing but pitching. Ryan Madson got the save, although it was another eventful one as he allowed a 1-out hit and fans quickly began biting their nails. But Madson pitched out of it and all is well with the world again. The Phillies won by a score of 1-0.
Brad Lidge saved the day game of the doubleheader and his outing was way more intense than Madson’s. With a 3-run lead, Lidge gave up 2 runs in the inning on 3 hits. Lidge finally managed to squeak out of the inning, giving the Phillies a 5-4 victory. But the bullpen has been so scary in the second half of the season, it is making tummies turn on a daily basis. Here is a photo I took of a bench inside the Phillies bullpen on Saturday:
They had better buy stock in that company if this is what we are in for the rest of the year.
9th inning drama aside, Kyle Kendrick got the start in this game due to JA Happ being out with a strained oblique; it was Kendrick’s first start in the majors this year. Kendrick had been sent back to the minors after a bad run in 2008 but appears to have improved quite a bit since that time. In the day game, Kendrick went 7 1/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on a homer right before he was pulled out of the game. Prior to that homer though, he looked pretty sharp and was finally working a much needed change-up into his routine. What the future holds for Kendrick is unclear, but for now he has a least given the Phillies something to think about.
So the Phillies took 3 of 4 games from the Mets this weekend and bumped their lead in the NL East up to 6 ½ games. They also officially eliminated the Mets from playoff contention with the Martinez win last night. Only the Marlins and Braves are potential contenders now. The Phillies will need to be careful not to get lazy these last few weeks and take bad teams, like the Nationals, too lightly.
It is an off day today, but tomorrow the Phils start a 3-game series with those pesky Nats. For now, feel free to check out the Photo Album from last night’s 1-0 win over the Mets!
Photos by Jenn