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Game 2 starter Pedro Martinez knows Dodger Stadium

'It's going to be special,' he says of pitching in Chavez Ravine again.

October 16, 2009|Jim Peltz

Veteran right-hander Pedro Martinez, who began the season unsure whether or where he would pitch again, will be the Philadelphia Phillies' starter against the Dodgers today in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium.

Martinez, with 219 career victories, will be followed in the Phillies' rotation by another of the team's successful midseason acquisitions, left-hander Cliff Lee, who will start Game 3 on Sunday in Philadelphia, Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said Thursday.

Dodger Stadium is familiar terrain for Martinez, who started his career with the Dodgers before being traded to the Montreal Expos in 1993 for infielder Delino DeShields.

Martinez later pitched for the Boston Red Sox -- where he was teammates with the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez -- and the New York Mets.

"It's going to be special" pitching again at Chavez Ravine, Martinez said. "I hope this is not the last [game] that I pitch here but, if it is, it would be a great joy to actually do it in the same place I started."

After finishing last year with the Mets, Martinez was without a team for the first three months of this season until Philadelphia signed him as a free agent July 15, and he's been an effective addition. Martinez was 5-1 with a 3.63 earned-run average, and the Phillies went 8-1 in his nine starts.

When he beat the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 3, Martinez also became the ninth pitcher in history to win 100 games in each league.

He wasn't used in the Phillies' division series against the Colorado Rockies and hasn't pitched since Sept. 30, but both he and Manuel said they were not concerned about the extended layoff.

While watching Martinez pitch a practice game recently, "he was throwing pretty hard and his command was good," Manuel said. "I feel like he's always pretty sharp with his command and control."

Martinez said that while he wasn't playing early this season, he remained confident he could help a team get to the playoffs.

He appeared in three American League Championship Series with the Red Sox, including in 2004 when Boston won the World Series.

"I had the opportunity to go with some other teams," he said without identifying them. "But I didn't consider those teams to be contenders. I was wise in some ways to wait . . . for the right team and wait for the right situation."

Dodgers Manager Joe Torre, whose teams faced Martinez numerous times while Torre was managing the New York Yankees, called him "a tough competitor."

"You don't try to beat Pedro, you just try to outlast him," Torre said, adding that "it's going to be strange, that's for sure" to be facing Martinez "and go at it again."

Pitching questions

Although the Phillies' starting pitchers are set for the first three games of the series against the Dodgers, Manuel said the rotation after that remained unclear -- not unlike how it's been for much of the season.

Right-hander Joe Blanton and left-handed rookie J.A. Happ generally have been starters for the Phillies, but they've also been used out of the bullpen, as they were during the division series.

"The reason we haven't gotten any farther" in scheduling starting pitchers beyond Game 3 "is because we don't know yet how we're going to use Blanton or Happ, like as far as the situations that come up" in the first three games, Manuel said.

And right-handed starter Brett Myers, who beat the Dodgers in last year's NLCS but has battled injuries this season, was left off the Phillies' 25-man roster for this year's series.


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