Thursday, August 13, 2009

P-Mart's Got Game

Yep, that's my new nickname for Pedro Martinez, book it. P-Mart.

Anyways, I know I have not posted much this week, but suffice it to say it has been a very, very busy time for me. Judging by how many blog updates I'm seeing (and not seeing) these days, most of you can relate. It's August, the summer is coming to an end, people are vacationing, spending time with family, going to the beach, and just generally decompressing after the WSOP came to a close with a bang last month with Phil Ivey final tabling the Main Event. So you can count me in on that boat, except in my case I haven't been away so much as just super busy between work and home life.

In any event, Pedro Martinez made his debut for Your World Champion Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. And you know what? He wasn't half bad.

Now don't get me wrong, Pedro ultimately did exactly what I was telling you guys he would do a month ago when I first posted about him -- he made it through just five full innings on the night, requiring us to go to the bullpen for four separate innings, just like he did with regularity over the past couple of seasons in New York. Pedro is just not more than a 5 or 6 inning guy anymore, period. Ever. And that in and of itself is not a great turn of events for the Phillies, and there's no doubt in my mind that it won't be changing here as Pedro celebrates his 75th birthday in the City of Brotherly Shove.

But all that said, Pedro's five innings were actually pretty solid. All month all I've heard -- in particular coming out of the New York sports media -- was how Pedro is a shell of his former self, Pedro can't get anybody out, and Pedro's fastball is down to 80, 85 miles per hour. Well, I'm happy to say, all three of those statements are not exactly true. I mean, 75-year-old Pedro is surely nowhere near the form we saw from him back when he was truly baseball-aged, back when he was going 17-8 with 305 strikeouts and a 1.90 ERA for Montreal in 1997, or 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 K's for the Sox in 1999. But he's not exactly a shell of his former self either, at least not from his recent former self of the past few years in New York. Pedro on Wednesday night was more or less exactly like he was the past season or two with the Mets -- able to pitch a fairly solid 5 or 6 innings, giving up 2-4 runs but able to come up with just enough to wriggle his way out of any more trouble than that.

P-Mart was certainly able to get batters out on the night, including five strikeouts in five innings, and he managed to pitch his way out of trouble without major damage on two occasions including in his final inning where the bases were quickly juiced with nobody out. P-Mart had decent control on the night too, only walking one batter in his 5.0 innings pitched, throwing 54 strikes out of a total 99 pitches thrown. The seven hits and three earned runs he gave up in five innings wasn't spectacular, but anyone expecting spectacular out of Old Man P-Mart needs to get off the crack. But Pedro definitely had some game in Chicago last night, as the Cubs' batters would be the first to tell you. As would the radar gun btw, which regularly registered above 90 mph on P-Mart's fastball, which looked to me at least as good as I saw it all of last season at with the Mets.

In all, Pedro Martinez definitely justified his presence on the field last night, and in so doing effectively won over thousands of Phillies fans like me who doubted that he even had what it takes to get back on a major league roster and do the job. Even though he is and will never again be near his steroid-era form, P-Mart showed the world that he in fact still has some game left in him. I don't see myself agreeing anytime soon with Phils' GM Ruben Amaro's decision to stick Jamie Moyer -- the team's winningest pitcher for two years running now -- in the bullpen in favor of the aged Martinez, at least we saw this week that P-Mart isn't completely running on empty. I still have a sneaking suspicion that Martinez would have a chance of being an excellent late-game reliever or even closer for one or two innings at a time, probably of more value to the team overall due to the strain using him as a starter puts on our bullpen. But at least he's not the stiff I was afraid we might see when he stepped onto the mound for the first time again in the majors.

At least now the hometown fans might give the guy a lil love when he makes his first start at Citizen's Bank Field as a Phillie, as opposed to the absolute trashing he was fixing to receive if he went out there and dogged it at Wrigley on Wednesday night.

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Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

I got kinda worried when during the first 2 innings I didnt see any balls go over 84 on the radar, but he must've got his grove back in the third when he went 92ish on 4 consecutive pitches.

Not bad, at all although had the Phils not scored 13 it might have ended different. For me I'll book this W as a C+ for Pedro, lets see if he progresses or regresses in his second attempt.

1:23 AM  
Blogger OES said...

i gotta say, the nickname "Pmart" is just not sticking

3:10 AM  

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