Game 3: Martinez, Blanton or Happ?
And the Phillies’ Game 3 starter in the National League Division Series is:
- J.A. Happ.
- Joe Blanton.
- Pedro Martinez.
Charlie Manuel would not say who it would be following today’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies in Game 2 at Citizens Bank Park. Manuel said the Phillies would discuss their options for Game 3 on the flight to Denver, but Happ, Blanton and Martinez each said they are willing and able to pitch Saturday.
Martinez seemed to think it will be him.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s my turn,” he said. “According to the way everything went today, I’m supposed to get some action in there. And I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to help this team. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that.”
Blanton (12-8, 4.05 ERA) threw 19 pitches in relief to five batters today. He said Manuel knows he can bounce back quickly.
Happ (12-4, 2.93 ERA) replaced Blanton in the seventh, but faced just one batter after a line drive hit him just below his left knee cap. The Phillies said Happ has a bruised lower left leg. X-rays were negative. Happ threw a couple practices pitches after the ball hit his leg, but he didn’t stay in the game. A leg injury could preclude Happ from being an option Saturday – Manuel said after the game that “right now I’d say it’s between Blanton and Pedro” – but Happ said he is fine, and could have remained in the game if he had a few more minutes to compose himself.
“Absolutely not,” said Happ, asked if he considers himself out of the mix. “I feel like I’d be ready. I don’t anticipate it being an issue.”
Told that Manuel said Saturday’s starter likely would be Blanton or Martinez, Happ was surprised.
“He said that?” he said. “I should probably go in there. I think we’ll have to talk.”
Martinez (5-1, 3.63 ERA) has pitched just once since Sept. 19, and not since Sept. 30, when he threw just four innings against Houston. He said the long layoff would be more of a concern than forecasted cold temperatures and snow.
“Concerns?” Martinez said about the weather. “I’m going to enjoy the snow. Maybe I’ll be rounding the bases in a snowmobile.”
Game 3? Who ya got?