Martinez 1999 or 2009?

pedro 0913.jpgNobody knew what to expect when Pedro Martinez joined the Phillies’ rotation last month, but it is safe to say he has been much, much better than expected.

I said at the time that I thought the Phillies were hoping he simply would be better than Jamie Moyer, whose 5.47 ERA was the second-highest in baseball. If Martinez wasn’t, the Phillies always could release him because they only guaranteed him about $900,000.

His salary has been a bargain to this point. Martinez went a combined 17-15 with a 4.75 ERA the previous three seasons with the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA in seven starts with the Phillies, and 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his last three — despite the fact he had not pitched since last season and had one rehab start and two regular-season starts shortened because of rain. Like Rich Dubee said last week, Martinez has not had a lot of mound time.

But Martinez allowed six hits and two walks and struck out seven in eight scoreless innings last night in a 1-0 victory over the Mets. He threw 130 pitches. It was the first time he had thrown 130 pitches since May 1, 2001. It was just the 21st time he had thrown that many pitches in his career.

Incredible.

I had heard people say they hoped Martinez pitched well with the Phillies because he is good for baseball. I was not completely certain what they meant. Was it because he is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history? Of course, but I learned it was more than that. He is a rare player who is bigger than the game. He is larger than life. I remember during his press conference after his first start last month at Wrigley Field. Somebody asked him if he could recapture his Cy Young magic and help this team win.

“I’ve been there,” he said. “For this club, what I’m lacking right now, I might give them at the end. Experience. A cold-blooded person that doesn’t matter how big the game is. I’m going to stand right there. And if anybody fails, they can always count on the old goat to go out there and kind of stand up. I might do that.”

You have to be a little bit of a bad a– to say that and mean it. Most players are uber conservative in what they say publicly, which is understandable. They’re superstitious to a degree. They know how quickly things can turn. Martinez knows those things, too. He has struggled, but he remains supremely confident and unafraid to speak from the heart. He believes when he is healthy, he is a cold-blooded killer on the mound. You say stuff like that then back it up? That is why he is good for baseball.

But can he keep it up?

“I know the toughest games are yet to come,” he said that night at Wrigley. “Come September and October, those are the games that I’m really setting my mind for.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

36 Comments

You nailed it…he is a bad a–. What a killer, big game, give me the damn ball attitude. Any debate on him deserving to be on the post season roster is quickly fading. He was certainly fun to watch last night, despite the fact we had to listen to Miller and Morgan, who make me miss Andy Musser.

Pedro has looked great. Before last night I didn’t have him in my postseason rotation, but if he keeps this type of performance up, he has to be in there. He has the big game mentality and if his stuff keeps up over the next couple of months, the Phils will be in good shape come October.

Obviously Pedro doesn’t have the stuff he had in 1999, but he is a smarter pitcher than he was then and is able to make adjustments. He just knows how to get people out.
It’s a shame that the Lidge issue is carrying over to the whole pitching staff. There is no way that Pedro would have been out there in the 8th under normal circumstances, but these aren’t normal circumstances these days. The bullpen is such a mess that Charlie was forced to let Pedro go out there. Thank goodness he was up to it. He’s moving up in the postseason rotation every day, IMO.

Gotta to love the “Old Goat”! He was such fun to watch. Kudos to Madson for the save in such a close, close game. I think this year’s competition against the Mutts wasn’t quite as much fun as in year’s past since they certainly aren’t the team they should be what with their rath of injuries.

He is definitely an asset for the post season and if Happ of course isn’t available, he’s definitely in the rotation.

I keep hoping that our bullpen gets some reinforcements from Condrey, Eyre, and Romero. Hopefully their rehabs continue to go well.

Pedro was fantastic lst night. As one who wasnt happy with the signing, I scream how wrong I was. He is pitching so well, I can’t decide if he’s the #4, #3, or #2 on this team. How nice to have 5 starters (assuming Happ is healthy) who can pitch in post season if we need.

Also, Kendrick showed that his year in AAA wasn’t wasted. He was so good last night as well. I smell a trade. Kendrick for a reserve inf instead of Brunlett

This isn’t just luck and the WFC defense behind him either. He’s dealing from a three true outcomes perspective as well: 8.12 K/9, 1.43 BB/9, and 1.19 HR/9. That strikeout rate is only a little below his career level, the walks are right in line, and the home run rate is pretty good, especially for this rotation, which had a problem with that early on. I was skeptical of this pickup at the start but man, what a bargain for $1 MM.

With the current state of the Phillies, I’m not too worried about the starters in teh post season. Whether Pedro or Happ is the 4th starter is not the most important thing. The bullpen, however, still worries me sh*tless. We’ve now seen that neither Lidge nor MAdson can be used as a reliable closer. For what ever reasons, Charlie hasn’t given Myers a chance yet, and we aren’t set at all for the 7th or 8th innings. We have 20 games to get the pen set.
Our Offence also is beginning to be a worry. Here, however, there’s not much to do except hope our guys get hot at the right time. Who would have thought we’d be worrying about the offense and the Pen and not the starting pitching at this point in the year?

Pedro has been toying with hitters….just toying with them. It’s incredible to watch. He will always be one of my favorite pitchers even before he came to Philly. Now with these performances he is impressing me even more. The movement he was generating last night was almost cartoon-like.

But yes the bullpen is a huge problem. They are all scared out there. I thought Brett was the answer but after his 8th inning on Saturday I can back down on that stance. Moyer should have stayed in the game anyway given the fact they had a DH on Sunday and Moyer wasn’t at 100 pitches. But it was nice to see them take both games yesterday…it’s a tough thing to do.

I cannot stand Tim Redding. If he made a career just facing the Phillies he’d be a first ballot HOFer and he has mediocre stuff at best.

And I also still don’t understand how anyone could have hated the Pedro signing from jump street. It was so low-risk. Amaro, Jr. dazzled at the deadline this year.

who cares about pitch count. I wonder if anyone kept track of Lefty’s or Kofax’s pitch count. Think Cy Young ever was taken out of a game because he threw over 100 pitches?

Loved the performance; didn’t love the pitch count. Anyone worried about his pitch count? The last 2 games have been high.

Yeah, Billy Martin did not worry about pitch count for the early 1980s A’s and I believe he is now attributed with single handily blowing out an entire pitching staff. Sure you have Cy Young and Steve Carlton but what does that prove other than in several thousand candidates you might find two with rubber arms. Is Sandy Koufax really an example one wants to cite for the proposition that pitch counts are not needed? Just going by memory and not looking it up I believe Koufax lasted 10 years with half of them being dominating. Moreover, he gets into the hall of fame with something like 155 career victories, the least, I believe for any pitcher. But, It is ironic that more recent HOF pitchers are denigrated because their 300 plus wins are attributed to their rubber arms and ability to stick around and not any dominant aspect of their game. Which way is it going to be? Longevity or domination? And if domination, how dominating and for how long?

I’m happy with his performance and think he was great. I know our bullpen hasn’t been great lately, and it was a tight game. But we are not in a do-or-die situation with Pedro and don’t need him to win every single game (not that it wouldn’t be nice!). Given his age, recent surgery, and health history, why push him to 120 pitches 2 starts in a row? Being a Philadelphia, I have to ask when does the news that Kendrick will pitch because Pedro will be pushed back a start with tightness in his shoulder come out?

Oh come on Pherris, Let’s look at history:
Cy Young: 511 W, 7356 IP, 1.13 WHIP, 8.12 ave innings per game
Walter Johnson: 417 W, 5914 IP, 1.06 WHIP, 7.4 innings/game
Grover Alexander: 373 W, 5190 IP, 1.12 WHIP, 7.5 inning/game
C Mathewson: 373 W, 4781 IP, 1.06 WHIP, 7.5 innings/game
Greg Maddox: 355 W, 5008 IP, 1.14 WHIP, 6.73 innings/Game
Steve Carlton: 3269W, 5217 IP, 1.25 WHIP, 7.04 innings/game
Jamie Moyer: 258 W, 3896 IP, 1.31 WHIP, 5.9 Innings per game.

NOTE: all above players, except for Maddox and Moyer and Carlton had over 80 games as relievers INCLUDED in these stats. Moyers has over 50 aperences in releif over his career. Carlton had over 30, Maddox had only 4.

As you can see, innings pitched (as close to a pitch count as you can get statistically) means nothing.

regarding lonevity or dominance (this got cut somehow from teh original post)

F-i-j……………………..So you give me what, 7 examples or so of pitchers who stuck around a long time? What does this have to do with the effiacy of pitch counts? You give me the names of 7 guys who span about 140 years of baseball. And this proves what? And give me a break including Jamie Moyer. He is the poster boy as to what little value can be attributed to longevity versus dominance. Even a blind squirrel will find a nut and a broken clock will be right twice a day.

Gimme a break. He was facing the METS. He faced better hitters in his rehab assignments in the minors. We’ll see how he does against real teams in the post season. This won’t be a cake walk like it was last year eitehr. You hafta remember they were facing a weaker group of teams with the Yankees being out of the playoffs for the first time in thirteen years. If the Phils can make it through to the WS, they will get destroyed by the Bronx Bombers, the best team in the bigs, the definition of excellence.

The Phillies WS victory is supposed to be diminished because they beat the 2008 AL East winners, as opposed to the third place Yankees?
Uh….OK.

That’s exactly what I’m saying. And this year, the Yanks will reclaim what’s rightfully theirs.

ted, you’re a bright one. Solid posts outta you. Atta boy!

“Bronx Bombers” means those clowns who just lost two out of three at home to the Orioles? Rigor mortis will soon set in, and they’ll be playing like their ’08 selves again!…..Can’t wait to see Burnett pitch in the playoffs.

The Yankees suck!
THEEEEE Yankees suck!

The Yankees had the perfect solution to help A-Rod et al hit as many homeruns without PEDs aw they did with PEDs…….The NEW Yankee Stadium, equipt with $100 million fans that secretly blow the pop-ups over the fence when the Yankees bat……..On a side note, I hope Pedro still doesn’t consider the Yankees to be his “Daddy”!

AHHHH, I love it. The Yankees are everyones daddy this year. Even with Burnette bein awful, and really only having 2 starters. And the Yakees hit homers everywhere, not just the new Cathedral. I can’t wait to see you bumba** Phillies in teh WS. These aren’t the Devil Rays boys, these aren’t the Devil Rays

I guess the Yankees are lucky that they aren’t the same Rays as last year’s team, because they would be back in third place.
Have they taken poor wittle Jaba off a pitch count yet? What a wuss.

Pedro ,if he keeps pitching like this, has to be in the Phillies playoff rotation. The guy is plain and simple : ” A Winner”.

Haha, I agree, the Joba situation is rediculous, and they just about ruined him. But teh fact is the Yankees this year have the best lineup in the game, and the best bullpen in the game. So good, in fact, that it can overcome their mediocre staerting pitching. Good luck with Lidge in the playoffs, haha.

Dude, we beat the Yanks two out of three IN that masouleum you call a baseball stadium

Dude, that was when the Yanks were still meshing, and losing to everyone. Since then, they don’t lose. This team will pummel Lidge, no matter what kind of lead your starters leave the game with. That bullpen is miserable.

Hey, they were due for a few losses, I mean cmon. Watch them tear through the rest of the schedule like they’ve been. I really hope the Phils make it to the WS, I want them to feel what it’s like to be in a REAL WS, when people care. With the Yanks out of it last year no one watched the playoffs but Phillies fans, and the three Tampa Bay fans. But, of all four teams that will most likely be in teh playoffs for the NL, the Phillies are the worst, so i doubt we will see that.

And those 2 losses to the O’s? Was that when the team was still “meshing”? The Yankees have been so far ahead for so long, you can’t even remember when they last played a meaningful game that they had to win. They have been coasting. We will see what kind of team they are when adversity strikes in the playoffs.

The dude has to come here for the reflective glory of the World Champions. Something that has been missing in NY for years, no matter how much money they spend.
Free Joba!!

From the Press Conference when they signed him:

“I bring with me a legacy,” Pedro Martinez said. “I bring with me, my last name. I bring my face. I bring everything I have, my integrity, to this team. “I might surprise you. I might not. But it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be really fun to go out and find out.”

And:

“As far as embracing the Phillies fans, I think I’m going to have a lot of fun because they seem to be really wild. And I’m a little bit out there, too. I think we’re going to match up really well.”

Pedro has more than lived up to those words. I wasn’t sure how the “Pedro Experiment” was going to pan out, but it has exceeded my expectations, to be sure. I love the guy. I’m not sure if I have ever seen a player look like he’s enjoying himself more when they show him on camera when he’s not playing. When he’s on the field, you can see the other side very clearly. The guy who clearly did not want to come off the field last night, and who said of the next batter, “I want him.” Sure, I knew his numbers and reputation when he played for the Red Sox, but seeing him now gives me a whole new appreciation for the man. If he came back to honor his promise to his father, or to go out on a note that would be worthy of his legendary status, he’s accomplished that. Does he even want to pitch beyond this year? I wish the media would ask him that, as I’d love to know. If so, in what capacity? I know he has said he’d like a NL WFC ring to go with his AL one, so would he only want to play for a contender? Now that he’s gotten the taste of starting effectively again, would he only want to play in that role? Money shouldn’t be a pressing need for the guy, but how much would he want? Lots of questions, but even without answers, I’m going to try to enjoy watching him as much as he seems to enjoy playing for the Phillies right now.

I’m still trying to wrap it around my head, that Pedro threw 130 pitches.

One presumes too much when one presumes the Yankmes are even going to make it to the WS.

Zo, you’re right. Martinez really is a rare player and one who has taken little time to capture the hearts of Philly fans including mine. The season has been both full of promise and much heartache. What truly great season isn’t? I admit that I was camped out with the skeptics when I first heard the news about Pedro signing with the Phillies and especially when it seemed his chance would doom the other “old goat” to the pen. By the way, pherris, your comments about Moyer in regards to longevity/dominance are offensive to those of us who consider all that constitutes a player that is good for baseball. It has been hard to watch various members of our team struggle but I appreciate Charlie’s style of managerial leadership. He has been building a team of Champions not just game winners and it has been great to see the “old goats” show some true grit. Yeah, I think these guys are doing a great job of “kind of standing up”. Now, let’s step on some throats from here on out!

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