Making his first appearance in a major-league game since last September, Pedro Martinez did for the Philadelphia Phillies what fellow future Hall of Famer John Smoltz couldn’t do for the Boston Red Sox – pitch five solid innings of baseball.
Martinez gave up three runs, seven hits, and struck out five in five innings of work last night against the Chicago Cubs. Was Martinez great? Was he vintage Pedro? No, but he doesn’t have to be.
I didn’t get to watch Martinez pitch live because I was at the Newark Bears game last night (more on that in a post later). But thanks to the MLB Network and the wonderful little invention known as DVR, I woke up early this morning and just watched Martinez’s five innings. That’s called dedication baby!!!
What I saw was a very, very determined Pedro Martinez. More determined than I have seen him in the regular season in quite some time. He is no longer the guy who can blow you away whenever he feels like it. He is more of a thinking man’s pitcher these days.
He was mixing his pitches well and even got his fastball up to the low-90’s on some occasions. He is more of a nibbler now as his 99 pitches in five innings suggests, but one thing people always forget about Martinez is that even when he was throwing 98 mph – he was one of the smartest pitchers in the game. Now, he just needs to be a little smarter than he was before.
The Phillies will take what Martinez gave them last night every time out for the rest of the season. I don’t think the Phillies were expecting much more. The key now will be to see how Martinez fares pitching on every five days.
The next two or three starts will tell us a lot about how much Martinez will help the Phillies in their attempt to win another World Series.