A Lost Opportunity
OK, I’m about to hop on the redeye back to Philly, but a couple thoughts about today’s 2-1 loss to the Dodgers in Game 2:
I did not have a problem with Charlie Manuel removing Pedro Martinez after seven innings, although I certainly would not have blinked had Manuel left him in. But had Martinez given up the lead in the eighth, everybody would have asked Manuel why he let Martinez continue to pitch, despite the fact he had reached his pitch count after not pitching in 17 days. They would have asked why Manuel wouldn’t start the inning with Chan Ho Park, who dominated the night before.
No, I think the Phillies lost this game because of three consecutive plays to start the eighth inning. The ball Pedro Feliz didn’t catch to get things started. The bunt that Park couldn’t reach. The double play Chase Utley botched. Manuel defended Feliz for not catching his ball. Feliz wouldn’t say if he should have caught it or not. The bunt was in no man’s land. It was hit perfectly. Utley admitted he made a bad throw. If Feliz or Utley make their plays — not both, just one of them — if the bunt is just a tad in either direction, the Phillies get out of that inning with the game no worse than tied. But the bunt was perfect and Feliz or Utley didn’t make their plays and they lost.
What did Pedro think?
“I felt pretty fresh,” Martinez said. “But at the same time, if you push it what happens the next time? I went 17 days without pitching. I’m not saying I’m going to get hurt, but after 17 days I think it was good enough. And I’m pretty sure everyone is good with the results.”