In the press box at Fed Ex Field on Monday night after the Redskins-Eagles debacle, I was debating with a Philly writer about who the Phillies would start in game two of the World Series against the Yankees.
I maintained that you had to start Pedro Martinez. If there was ever a game you were going to use Pedro, it would this one on the stage at Yankee Stadium. It is the kind of game a performer like Pedro would get up for. It would also probably get in the heads a little bit of the Yankees. And it would be high drama.
The writer said they would start Cole Hamels, arguing that you don’t want to mess with Hamels fragile state at this point and bump him back in the rotation. I said if Hamels is as shaky as he seems, the last place you want him to start is at Yankee Stadium. Let him have a start at home.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Charlie Manuel picked Pedro for game two. Great minds think alike.
He may get rocked, but if you are going to use him anywhere in the series, this is the place to do it. And if he is as effective as he was in his brilliant start against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series — seven shutout innings — then I like his chances against A.J. Burnett.
“You know what? I might be the only player who brings fear to the fans without throwing a pitch,” Martinez told reporters Tuesday. “It feels great to have the opportunity to be the player that catches the most attention ever - between the fans, the people in New York, at the Stadium.”
“We wanted Pedro in this atmosphere,” Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. “We thought he was better for this type of environment.”
If Pedro continues to be this effective, he will have taken the Roger Clemens plan of skipping part of the season to a new level. Pedro didn’t start pitching for the Phillies until August. It makes sense — a great, veteran pitcher at this stage of his career may not have 200 innings a season in his arm, but he may have 60 or 70. Pedro has pitched 45 innings this year for Philadelphia.
Listen to “The Sports Fix,” co-hosted by me and Kevin Sheehan, from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN 980 and espn980.com
For more information about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com