Nov 4, 2009, 4:05 PM EDT
The Phillies managed to score four runs in six innings against a fully rested Andy Pettitte in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday. Given that he’ll be working on short rest tonight, it seems doubtful that they’ll be shut down entirely. Pettitte hadn’t even started on four days’ rest since Sept. 5. His track record in big games shouldn’t be dismissed, but this is the most vulnerable he’s been in months.
So, tonight’s Game 6 figures to come down to Pedro Martinez. With the possibility of Mariano Rivera for two innings looming, it’s imperative that the Phillies build an early lead. If they don’t go to the bullpen ahead by two or three runs, it’s advantage Yankees.
WEEI’s Alex Speier has the rundown on Martinez’s previous record in elimination games. The future Hall of Famer played a big role in some of Boston’s comebacks, winning Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against the Indians, Game 5 of the 2003 ALDS against the A’s and Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees.
Perhaps even more famously, though, Martinez blew Boston’s lead in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Yankees. That game, ended by a walkoff homer in Aaron Boone in extra innings, cost Grady Little his job as Boston’s manager.
Martinez doesn’t figure to get a chance to spoil a late-inning lead tonight. With any luck, manager Charlie Manuel learned his lesson by sending Martinez back out for the seventh inning in Game 2. If Pedro can hold the Yankees to two runs over six innings — which is what he did last time out before Manuel pushed his luck — then the Phillies should be in pretty good position to send the World Series to a Game 7.
I’ll be hosting a live chat during Game 6. Check back at 8 pm EST to join in.
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