Wed Aug 12 10:40pm EDT
He pitched like Pedro. Possibly Pedro Lite.
Not quite as fast with the fastball, or as slick with the slider or as contrary with the changeup.
But for five innings Wednesday, he was Pedro. Good enough to push the even-more-ancient Jamie Moyer to the bullpen for at least a while. Good enough to win his first start for Philadelphia, 12-5 against the Cubs.
Well, if this is how he'll do on average, sure.
Here's his line: Five innings, seven hits, three earned runs, one walk, five strikeouts.
Here's what the man said:
"I actually feel good, and it shows. This is my first game coming back from deciding to play baseball again, and I'm totally different. If you look at me attitude, aggressiveness, physically, I look better than I did the previous two years in New York. I just feel so healthy that it's a shame I'd go home feeling the way I'd feel."
Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan was on hand at Wrigley Field and he files this report. More details from Pedro's first Philly start below.
He reached at least 90 mph 20 times and amped it up to 92 six times. Of course, he also threw sliders and changeups — a couple of which were downright nasty. But he's 37 years old (Pedro Birthers might disagree) and he hadn't pitched in a major league game in a year, so one would expect the breaking stuff to be better later on.
He made it to 99 pitches, thanks mostly a 30-pitch fifth.
The Cubs/Phillies batters made it easy on Martinez with two quick runs in the first inning before growing that total to 12 in the fourth. It wasn't a bad prediction to guess that two or three Phillies would hit for the cycle, the way they were beating Jeff Samardzija(notes) about the head and body with extra-base hits.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Martinez threw the ball OK.
"He threw the ball with a little more velocity than I thought he would and he gave them five innings," Piniella said. "He got a lot of run support so that made it a little easier for him."
Pedro had a cushion and adrenaline going for him, but he looked like he brought some stuff, too. The Cubs hit a few balls hard, but Martinez made some pitches to wriggle out of jams.
Rich Dubee, the pitching coach (pictured above), has to be pleased.
It's a very encouraging beginning for the Phillies 'n' Pedro. And a better Pedro is coming, he says.
"A healthy Pedro Martinez has been through everything," Martinez said. "You talk about whatever you want to bring up, I've been there. For this stuff, what I'm lacking right now, I might give them at the end. Which is experience. A cold-blooded person that it doesn't matter how big the game is. I'm going to stand right there. And if anybody fails, they can always count on the old goat to go up there and kind of stand up."