Martinez to start Game 2: Breaking down the decision
Say this for Charlie Manuel: The World Series hasn't even started yet, and he is already making the type of brazen moves that have marked the first couple of rounds of the playoffs. In starting Pedro Martinez in Game 2 -- a move he announced earlier this morning on his weekly radio appearance in Philadelphia -- he is taking a huge risk. Martinez has never started in the new Yankee Stadium. He has never faced this new Yankees team. He will be pitching in weather that is more than 20 degrees cooler than he faced in his only other start of the postseason. And Cole Hamels? Say what you will about his struggles this season, he is still the defending World Series MVP, and he has still shown the ability to dominate at times. The easy call for Manuel would have been to cross his fingers and send Hamels out for Game 2. If he falters? Well, that's on him. But now, if Pedro Martinez stumbles in Game 2 and Hamels thrives in Game 3, the Phillies won't be able to pitch Hamels again until Game 7. And they could be forced into a situation where they bring Cliff Lee back on short rest. But like most of Manuel's moves, this one has firm roots in logic. The Phillies' likely thinking? Trust -- Martinez has built it this season and throughout his career. Hamels has eroded it with both his performance and his body language on the mound. At the first hint of trouble, lefthander J.A. Happ and righthander Joe Blanton will be ready to fill in for Martinez. And if things really implode, Cliff Lee coming back on short rest for Game 4 is an option, giving Blanton or Happ an extra day to prepare for action in Games 5 and 6.
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