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Phils' Pedro Martinez No Stranger to Pressure in Game Three NLDS

Scott EisenlohrAnalyst IOctober 10, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Starting pitcher Pedro Martinez #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during the game against the Houston Astros on September 30, 2009 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 10-3 and the National League East title. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

AUTHOR'S NOTE: MARTINEZ'S SCHEDULE START ON SATURDAY WAS POSTPONED DUE TO SNOW. J.A. HAPP IS DUE TO START SUNDAY. MARTINEZ MAY OR MAY NOT START IN THE BALANCE OF THIS SERIES OR BE MOVED TO THE BULLPEN.

The year is 1999 and in the deciding game of the ALDS, Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez enters an 8-8 game in the fourth inning in the contest against the Cleveland Indians.

As baseball fans know, Martinez pitched six no-hit innings, as the Red Sox won the game 12-8.

In the American League Championship Series, he pitched seven shutout innings to give the Red Sox their only win in the championship series against the Yankees.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox, four games to one, then swept the Atlanta Braves to win their 25th World Series title.

Martinez won the Cy Young Award that year, one of three such honors for the sure-fire Hall of Fame right-hander.

Fast forward 10 years later and in August, Martinez, after almost a year away from baseball, joins the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

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The highlight of his body of work in the regular season was a 1-0 eight-inning win on Sept. 13 against the Mets.

He has started only two games since, throwing 140 pitches in seven innings. He allowed six runs on 13 hits, two of them home runs in the division-clinching game against Houston on Sept. 30.

He is set to be the Game Three starter for Manager Charlie Manuel in a frigid Colorado night, with the Phillies and the Rockies knotted up at one game a piece.

It’s 10 years later, and it would be foolish to expect the same production out of Martinez.

But here is my assessment. He is a big-game pitcher and loves the big stage. For as much as he smiles and jokes around with teammates and the media, he is all business on the mound.

Expect six to seven good innings from Martinez. The over/under line, in my mind, on runs allowed should be two. I hope for better than that and also hope for no more than that.

It is quite possible that the Phillies could lose the game 2-0. But I believe the Phils will follow Martinez’s lead and manufacture a few runs.

I believe in Charlie Manuel and am not worried going into this game.

It sure is not 2008 for the Phillies. But it also is not 2007 for the Phillies, when they got swept by the Rockies, three games to none.

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