Results tagged ‘ Pedro Martinez ’

It's Lidge or Madson … Or Not


Thumbnail image for lidge 0529.jpgCharlie Manuel
is going to stick with Brad Lidge or Ryan Madson in the ninth inning.

Unless he’s not.

“We’ll do what we have to do,” Manuel said before tonight’s series opener against the Brewers at Miller Park. “We’ll see. Whatever we think, whatever we want to do, I’ll do it. I’m open to what I’m going to do, yeah.”

The never-ending ninth-inning saga for the Phillies continued after Lidge blew his Major League-leading 11th save of the season last night in a 7-6 loss to the Marlins at Land Shark Stadium. Lidge is 0-8 with a 7.48 ERA with 31 saves in 42 opportunities. In four appearances since Manuel returned Lidge to the closer’s role, he is 0-1 with a 14.73 ERA and three saves in four opportunities. Opponents have hit .421 against him. Lidge is on track to become one of just five pitchers in baseball history to finish a season with no wins, eight or more losses and a 7.00 ERA or higher:

  • Ed O’Neil went 0-8 with a 9.26 ERA in eight games in 1890 with Toledo and Philadelphia of the American Association.
  • Charlie Stecher went 0-10 with a 10.32 ERA in 10 games in 1890 with Philadelphia of the American Association.
  • Edgar Gonzalez went 0-9 with a 9.32 ERA in 10 games in 2004 with Arizona.
  • Russ Ortiz went 0-8 with an 8.14 ERA in 26 games in 2006 with Arizona and Baltimore.

Who would the alternatives be? 

Brett Myers would make sense, but he is hurt. He will throw bullpen sessions next Tuesday and Thursday, which would leave him no more than three games to show Manuel he could handle the job in the postseason.

Fans have asked about Pedro Martinez or J.A. Happ, but they seem unlikely. Martinez is 37 and has never closed before. Happ also has no experience in the role. One of them obviously will be in the postseason rotation. The other could be valuable as a multi-innings guy in the pen, especially if Chan Ho Park is hurt. 

Tyler Walker? He is 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 27 appearances. He has closed before.

“He’s done a good job for us in the role he’s in,” Manuel said of Walker. “We’ll do whatever it takes that we think will win a game. I might give you guys something really good to write about.

“If you look and see what our pitching situation is right now, who we have there … both of those guys (Lidge and Madson), they are our talented guys. As far as stuff-wise and experience-wise and things like that. It kind of made it tough. But at the same time we’ve got to try to do something to win games, too.”

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Your Tuesday Injury Update

We’ve got doubleheader baseball today at Land Shark Stadium. We’ve also got Phillies injury updates:

  • Pedro Martinez. He left Saturday’s start in Atlanta after three innings after he strained a muscle on the right side of his neck while swinging the bat. Martinez said he felt a little better after visiting a chiropractor in Miami, but to give him extra time to recover the Phillies pushed back his start from Friday to Saturday in Milwaukee. Cliff Lee will pitch Friday instead. Ruben Amaro Jr. said Martinez threw today and felt pretty good, but the Phillies will know more after tomorrow’s bullpen session.
  • Brett Myers. He had a MRI on his right shoulder today in Philadelphia. He has a Grade 1 strain of his right latissimus dorsi. He will throw a bullpen next Tuesday, and the Phillies said they hope he will be able to pitch again before the end of the regular season.
  • Scott Eyre. He has not pitched since Sept. 7 because of a “loose body” in his left elbow. He threw a bullpen session before Game 1 of today’s doubleheader against the Marlins, and pitching coach Rich Dubee pronounced Eyre ready for action.
  • J.A. Happ. He is fine and will start Thursday in Milwaukee as scheduled. He left Friday’s game in Atlanta after three innings after manager Charlie Manuel thought he favored the rib cage muscle that caused him to miss his previous two starts.
  • Chan Ho Park. He continues to progress from a strained right hamstring. There is no schedule for when he might pitch again, but Amaro said it is possible Park could begin pitching as early as next week.
  • J.C. Romero. He threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday in Clearwater, Fla. He is expected to pitch Thursday in the Instructional League.
  • Jack Taschner. He has a strained back and continues to progress in Clearwater, Amaro said.
  • Carlos Ruiz. He said his sprained left wrist feels better and will play in Game 2.
  • Greg Dobbs. Miguel Cairo started at third base in Game 1 because Manuel said Dobbs’ right calif isn’t completely healthy. Dobbs said it won’t be 100 percent the remainder of the season, but it doesn’t affect him at the plate.

UPDATE ON MYERS (8:08 p.m.) READ ABOVE.

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It’s about 30 minutes before first pitch in Game 1 and I’m guess there aren’t more than 200 fans in the stands.

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What A Pain in the Neck


martinez 0919.jpgPedro Martinez
just lost the 100th game of his career, which might have been the most newsworthy thing to happen tonight at Turner Field.

Martinez is a remarkable 219-100.

Think about that for a second. Martinez has been pitching in the Majors since 1992. He has made 408 starts and 67 relief appearances — and he just lost his 100th game.

His .6865 winning percentage is the third-best in baseball history in the modern era. Only Spud Chandler (.7171) and Whitey Ford (.6901) are better.

“That’s just a number,” Martinez said. “It’s a loss. A loss is a loss. To lose 100 games in the big leagues is a great honor to be honest. It’s a great honor. Many people don’t even get the opportunity to lose even three games or two games or maybe none. I’m a very blessed man to be able to do that. I’ve accomplished a lot of wins, too.

“If you didn’t tell me today, I wouldn’t have realized it. I would just go home, try to get some sleep and take a muscle relaxer and forget about it.”

Now about that muscle relaxer …

… Martinez left the 6-4 loss to the Braves after throwing one warm-up pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning because of stiffness in the right side of his neck. He said he pulled a muscle when he swung at a 0-2 curveball in the second inning.

“Everybody gets that sometimes, even from sleeping on a pillow,” he said. “I hope mine is not any worse than that. I felt it pinch when I threw that pitch to warm up. I don’t want to aggravate my arm or something like that. I don’t want to take chances.”

Of course, the initial reaction when Martinez hurt himself after throwing 119 pitches Sept. 8 against the Nationals and 130 pitches Sunday against the Mets was that it was pitch-count related. Martinez had not thrown 119 or more pitches since Sept. 16, 2005, when he threw 122 against the Braves. He had not thrown 130 or more pitches since May 1, 2001, when he threw 136 against the Mariners. He had not had consecutive starts with that much work since May 24-30, 2001, against the Yankees, when he threw 120 and 121 pitches, respectively. (Martinez spent most of the rest of 2001 on the disabled list with shoulder problems.)

“My arm is really good. It’s fine. It’s perfectly fine,” Martinez said. “I was totally positive. I didn’t feel quite as strong as I would like to, but you could see my fastball – I could click it when I wanted. I got to 90, 91 mph or whatever. I was able to pitch.”

Martinez threw more offspeed pitches tonight. Nearly half his pitches Sunday were fastballs, but just 17 of his 56 pitches tonight were fastballs. Phillies catcher Paul Bako said he thought Martinez was just starting to get into a groove before the neck stiffened up.

“He started to really command the heater with some life and some pop on it,” Bako said. “I believe he was about to throw about three or four more shutout innings because he was really starting to get out there and command and finish his fastball, where early he was trying to get a good feel for things.”

Martinez said he planned to see a chiropractor in the next couple days to crack his neck, but he sounded like he thought he could make his next start Friday against the Brewers.

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Pedro Leaves Game in 4th

Pedro Martinez left tonight’s game against the Braves before the bottom of the fourth inning with an apparent injury.

It is unknown what is wrong, although he seemd to be favoring his neck on the mound.

Martinez threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings Sunday against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. He had struggled through three innings tonight against the Braves, allowing three runs and seven hits.

Update (9:05 p.m.): The Phillies said Martinez left the game with stiffness on the right side of his neck.

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Looking October Worthy

lee 0915.jpg“They have a lot pros over there. Lee and Pedro Martinez and Cole Hamels go deep in ballgames. That’s a good formula for winning.” — Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman.

The past few nights at Citizens Bank Park have been impressive, and perhaps a glimpse into the future.

Cliff Lee shutout the Nationals tonight at Citizens Bank Park, 5-0, two nights after Pedro Martinez threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings Sunday in a 1-0 victory over the Mets. Two nights before that, Cole Hamels allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his previous four starts.

“Our one to five is as good as anybody’s,” Lee said of a rotation that also includes Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ. “I don’t think you necessarily have to have a 1-2 punch. I think we’ve got a 1-2-3-4-5 punch. That’s never ending.”

It is too early to say what the postseason rotation will look like, but I think the health of left-handers Scott Eyre and J.C. Romero could play a part in it. If they are not healthy, the Phillies could move Happ into the bullpen to give them a left-hander. If that happens, Martinez obviously makes the rotation.

(And, yes, I know the Mets and Nationals aren’t the Dodgers, Rockies or Cardinals, but the Philllies starters are doing what they should do against these offenses. Shut them down.)

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The last time the Phillies had shutouts in consecutive games was April 27-28, 2003, when Kevin Millwood threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory against the Giants at Veterans Stadium and Brett Myers, Dan Plesac and Jose Mesa combined for a 3-0 victory against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

I remember Millwood’s no-hitter well. I had started the Phillies beat a couple weeks earlier for The Philadelphia Inquirer, but because the Phillies opened a series the next night in Los Angeles, I flew to California that afternoon. In other words, the very first game I missed as a Phillies beat writer Kevin Freakin’ Millwood throws a no-hitter. I remember getting into my rental car at LAX, turning on the radio and hearing Vin Scully say, “And Kevin Millwood has a no-hitter through eight innings!” I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I still can’t believe it.

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The last time the Phillies had consecutive shutouts in Philadelphia was Aug. 15-16, 2002, against the Brewers and Cardinals. Joe Roa, Mike Timlin and Carlos Silva combined for the shutout against the Brewers, and Randy Wolf shutout the Cardinals.

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Carlos Ruiz is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with one homer and nine RBIs in his past 17 games.

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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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Lidge No Longer Lights Out to Close


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lidge 0523.jpg
Charlie Manuel
sounded a little like Herm Edwards this afternoon at Nationals Park.

We play to win the game.

Brad Lidge, who was pulled in the ninth inning in last night’s 5-3 victory over the Nationals after the loaded the bases with one out, said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told him that he would be closing the next time the situation presented itself. But Manuel said this afternoon that he simply told Lidge that he wasn’t afraid of putting him in there.

“I’ll just go with how I feel,” Manuel said.

So if there is a save situation tonight, tomorrow night or Friday, it’s not iron clad that Lidge, who is 0-7 with a 7.11 ERA and a Major League-leading 10 blown saves, is closing?

“I’m going to sit down sometime along the way and talk to him or whatever,” Manuel said. “I’m getting kind of tired, if you want to know the truth. Really, I am. And the reason is because I figure I can put him in the game when I want to. I’ve been very loyal to him. I’ve stuck with him. I did everything I think possible to get him going. There’s no way I want to ever lie to him and things like that. Like I told you last night, I don’t do that. I don’t have a history of doing that. I don’t do it. But at the same time, we’re going to win the game. Hey, the best way we can win the game. If Brad’s not out there to close, well then I guess that’s going to be my decision. We are going to play to win the game. Our team definitely is not about the one guy, either. I’m sure he feels that way. Really. It’s very important that we get him straight and right. But at the same time we’re going to play to win the game.”

In other words, if there is a save situation in the future, it could be Lidge, it could be Ryan Madson, it could be Brett Myers.

It sounds like closer by committee to me.

“He’s having an off season,” Manuel said of Lidge. “And we’re at the place where we need to win some games. If we’re going to win our division, we need to win some games. These are very important games and we need to win them, and I guess I’m going to pitch who I think on that night can do the job. When he gets in there and he gets consistent, he can take that job right back. I look at him in the future as being the closer for the Phillies. But right now we’re going to try to win games. My first priority is to win the game.

“Let me tell you something. When I managed in Cleveland I’d go get my pitcher whenever I wanted to. I’d go get my closer. I used to take (Bob) Wickman out of games and he used to get mad. I’d take John Rocker out. I didn’t give a damn. Because you know what? We were trying to win the game. The main thing was we win the game. If you don’t want to win the game or anything I can put whoever I want to out there, but I’m going to try to have the best guy on that night out there pitching that I possibly can have.”

Manuel made it clear he isn’t afraid to use who he wants, either.

“I’m the manager. I kind of go with how I feel and what I think,” he said. “I’ll take the responsibility. You can put it all on me. Really. I’ll take that. … I’ll bring anybody in the game, all right? I don’t care. Really. When you get right down to it, you me to tell you the truth? I’m not afraid or nothing like that. That’s no big deal. He might be in there tonight. He might be. He might not.”

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Scott Eyre returned to Philadelphia to see a doctor tomorrow. He has soreness in his left elbow. … Clay Condrey is working out at Citizens Bank Park, and could make a rehab appearance for Double-A Reading. … Jamie Moyer will pitch Saturday against the Mets. Pedro Martinez will pitch Sunday, likely in the second game of a doubleheader. Manuel said Kyle Kendrick likely would pitch the opener Sunday.

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Billy Says No, Phillies Say No


wagner 0821.jpgBilly Wagner
doesn’t need the Phillies, and the Phillies don’t need Billy Wagner.

The Mets, who are practically eliminated from postseason contention, put Wagner on waivers Wednesday for the possibility of trading him before the end of the season. A mystery team claimed Wagner on Friday — a report has the Red Sox being that team - but the Phillies said they are not it.

That’s OK with Wagner.

“It would have been tough to go back there,” said Wagner, who has a complete no-trade clause. “You’re never as good as you were. I don’t know if it would have been good. I love Charlie (Manuel). I love their team. All the guys there, but it would’ve been tough.”

Why?

“It’s hard to pitch in Philadelphia,” he said. “Plus, you’re coming back from Tommy John. It’s a little bit different.”

Tough because of the ballpark or tough because of the fans?

“Both,” he said. “I’m trying to work back.”

Wagner is owed $2.7 million in salary, plus an additional $1 million to buyout his 2010 club option. So the Phillies wouldn’t want Wagner anyway.

“Under the circumstances with his salary, we would not be able to place that kind of salary on our club,” Amaro said. “We don’t have $3 million to pull out of a tree.”

But besides the salary, the Phillies expect to have Brett Myers, J.C. Romero and Clay Condrey returning from the disabled list on or after Sept. 1, once the team can expand its roster.

“I’ll take those three guys,” Amaro said. “That’s like making a trade for three guys.”

Amaro said Myers, who made his first rehab appearance Thursday, felt fine Friday, but he said the team has not determined when Myers will make his next rehab appearance.

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Pedro Martinez met with the New York media this afternoon. He touched on many of the same topics as before, but he offered some new insight on joining the Phillies.

“It’s a great feeling to go to a team like this,” he said. “And you know what? This team really surprised me. This team, as intense as they are on the field, it doesn’t reflect the type of calm they have in the clubhouse. How relaxed that whole team is. How relaxed everybody is. How simple they do it as far as going about their business. It’s very simple. Everybody gets dressed and everybody goes about their business. When they come out there it seems like they know they’re going to win. It’s a great feeling to go out there realizing your team is pretty much on top of the other team by the time you step out.”

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Two Old Goats, One Happy, One Sad


moyer 0818.jpg
martinez 0818.jpgPedro Martinez
sounded like a man who had just thrown his first shutout since 2005, while Jamie Moyer sounded like a man who is still upset about his demotion to the bullpen.

They combined to allow just four hits and one run in last night’s 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks. Martinez pitched three innings, retiring the final eight batters he faced. His night ended early because a severe thunderstorm hit Citizens Bank Park. Moyer, who lost his job to Martinez in the rotation, took his place. He allowed just two hits in six scoreless innings to get the win.

“You never know what you’ll get when you put two old goats out there,” Martinez said with a smile. “It’s a scary combination. You’re not going to see that very often. You might as well enjoy it. I enjoyed it.

“See? See what you get? Two for the price of one.”

Moyer was not nearly in as good a mood when he spoke with reporters, although he said he did not pitch with a chip on his shoulder.

“No, I pitched to get to the end of the game to save the bullpen,” he said.

Moyer has been upset since the Phillies told him that Martinez would take his place in the rotation. He told reporters last week in Chicago that he felt disheartened and misled because of conversations he had with the Phillies during contract negotiations. Asked last night if the past week has been emotional for him, he said he just wanted to talk about the game. Asked if he knows when he could pitch next, he said he just wanted to talk about the game. He later snapped when a reporter asked where he spent his time during the rain delay. (Answers to questions like that help reporters paint a picture where a person was in the moments leading up to a particularly noteworthy performance.)

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Moyer said. “Just go out and pitch. Try to pitch the way I’m capable of pitching and rely on my defense.”

Moyer still seems plenty steamed about his demotion.

The bad news for Moyer is that he will remain in the bullpen for the foreseeable future. But the good news is that he is pitching on a team with a chance to win a second World Series, and he’s going to be making $6.5 million this season and next no matter what happens. Whether that’s enough to improve his mood in time remains to be seen.

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Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. talk about Brad Lidge‘s struggles. Amaro also did not sound particularly optimistic they would make a move before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.

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The Old Goat Is Back

pedro 0812.jpgThe line score shows Pedro Martinez allowed seven hits, three runs and one walk and struck out five in five innings in last night’s 12-5 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Not bad for somebody who faced Major Leaguers for the first time since September, I suppose.

Martinez spoke for 22 minutes after the game. I asked him if he is OK being considered a bottom-of-the-rotation starter or if he feels he has enough life in his arm to return to Cy Young form.

Except it might not have been as clear as that. Sometimes you just stumble through a question. Anyway, here is what Pedro had to say, and here is why if Pedro improves like he thinks he will, he should be entertaining to watch the remainder of the season:

“I showed that I have life in my arm. I have life physically. I feel good. I don’t even ice or anything since I had the surgery. I just needed this time to settle back mentally and physically to dedicate myself to the game like I used to. I don’t think you can win a Cy Young by pitching one quarter of the season. For anybody to expect it would be dumb. I’m sorry I said that, but that’s the honest truth.”

Wait, did Pedro just call me dumb? Oh, well, not the first time. Continue on, Pedro.

“What I can bring over here, is my experience, health. A healthy Pedro Martinez has been through everything. You can talk about whatever want to bring up, I’ve been there. For this club, what I’m lacking right now, I might give them at the end, which is 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, well, they can always count on the old goat to go out there and kind of stand up. I might do that. I might be able to do that if I’m healthy. So that’s probably all the things that I would like to bring to this team.”

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