It wasn't until Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee came up to Pedro Martinez near the end of the 66-minute rain delay last night that the 37-year-old pitcher knew his night was over.
The righthander said he wanted to go back out. Since his five-inning debut against Chicago on Aug. 12, Martinez has adamantly defended himself, saying he is more than just a five-inning pitcher.
The rain shortened his home debut to three innings. Martinez remained encouraged.
"You saw how I was going to bounce back," he said. "I think it would have gone very well, because I was feeling really good."
Martinez allowed two hits and one run in three innings before the dark clouds, strong winds and a deluge arrived. He was not eligible to earn the win, but the Phillies still emerged victorious over Arizona, 5-1.
Because Martinez has a recent history of injuries and has pitched in only five games (counting rehab starts) this season, the Phillies played it safe and removed him for the man he replaced in the rotation, Jamie Moyer. The 46-year-old lefty pitched the final six innings.
Martinez had to feel particularly unlucky considering that he had retired eight Diamondbacks in a row before the rain delay.
"I felt confident about the way things were going to go," Martinez said.
Martinez struck out three and walked none. He threw a total of 38 pitches, 26 for strikes.
The only blemish was a 76-m.p.h. change-up that Martinez left over the plate to the game's first batter, Stephen Drew. He hit Martinez's sixth pitch of the night over the right-field wall.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Martinez did not look sharp in the 22-pitch first inning, but he was impressed with the rest of the start, albeit a small, sample size.
"He straightened out pretty good after the home run," Manuel said.
Like his first start for the Phillies in Chicago, Martinez responded after allowing an early run. Seven days earlier, Martinez gave up a second-inning run on a Jeff Baker single. He retired seven of the next eight batters.
Last night, Ryan Roberts followed Drew's leadoff home run with a single to left. That was the last batter to reach base against Martinez.
He induced a grounder by Gerardo Parra back to the mound and started a 1-6-3 double play. Martinez struck out Mark Reynolds to end the first and then set the Diamondbacks down in order in the second and third innings.
Martinez did it with lower velocity on his pitches than in his first start. Manuel said before the game he was surprised by Martinez's ability to crank his fastball up to 92 to 94 m.p.h. when he needed it. Last night, the hardest he threw was 91, twice to Reynolds in the first.
Manuel said he made the decision to take Martinez out about 30 minutes into the rain delay. With Moyer available as a long man, the risk of leaving Martinez in outweighed the chance for the pitcher to make good on his promise of going deeper into games.
"To see if he can bounce back every five days, that's a big thing," Manuel said. "He hasn't got there yet."
That can come another day, as long as the rain cooperates and Martinez continues to show the Phillies promise.
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