Martinez and Yankees meet again
NEW YORK - Though Pedro Martinez has faced the Yankees six times in the postseason, those games were almost in another lifetime. All came with the Red Sox, as recently as 2004 and as far back as 1999. He is not the same person, nor is he the same pitcher.
But Martinez will find himself in a familiar place tomorrow, on the mound in New York, following Game 1 starter Cliff Lee as the Phillies attempt to repeat as world champions. That leaves Cole Hamels to start Game 3, when the series shifts to Philadelphia.
“I wanted to split my lefties up, and also I felt like Pedro was the ideal guy to go in between them because of what type of pitcher he is, and his command, how he can change speeds, and the fact that he’s been here before,’’ Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
“I think this is going to be a real big moment for him, and I think, like I said, he’s used to it, and he’s done it before, and I think he’s the guy that’s more apt to handle it good.
“I think this is a perfect setting for him.’’
Martinez is 1-2 with a 4.72 ERA in those six postseason appearances against the Yankees, including five starts. In the regular season, he is 11-11 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts against the Yankees.
Martinez pitched well in his only outing this postseason, allowing just two hits and no walks over seven shutout innings in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
“He’s amazing,’’ Yankees lefthander Andy Pettitte said. “It’s amazing how good he is, and how good his command was, and still how good he can change speeds, from not working very much lately. More than anything, I think it’ll be a good story.’’
The Yankees weren’t always complimentary toward Martinez. Jorge Posada shouted insults at Martinez during Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS after the Red Sox and Yankees brawled. Martinez responded by pointing to his head, which Posada took as a beanball threat.
Their rivalry bubbled up again last season when Posada said during an interview that Martinez had no class. Martinez responded by claiming Posada had insulted his mother back in 2003.
Posada said yesterday that the bad blood has subsided.
“It was the heat of the moment. You get up for it, and it’s way past now,’’ he said. “It’s been a long time since that happened. It’s something I don’t want to look back to and I’m sure he doesn’t either.’’
Sabathia’s introduction to New York was rocky. He allowed one run but needed 122 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings. Afterward, Sabathia invited Lee to his home for dinner. The two have been friends since their days together with the Indians.
“My wife cooked, and he came over and hung out. That’s just how we are,’’ Sabathia said. “We’ve always been pretty close, pretty cool. The conversations are really never about baseball, though.’’
The Indians traded Lee to the Phillies July 29.
“I got to see him develop from a young pitcher that would borderline get mad and throw the ball as hard as he could to a guy that nothing fazed him and he was totally in control of the game,’’ Lee said. “I’d like to think I had something to do with that, kind of as far as helping him out here and there.’’
Manuel managed Sabathia for two years in Cleveland.
“I have all the respect in the world for him,’’ said Manuel. “As a matter of fact, I like the heck out of him.’’