Pitching in a major league game for the first time in more than 11 months, Pedro Martinez(notes) provided a glimpse as to why the Philadelphia Phillies took a chance on the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
He now looks to win over the team’s passionate fans.
Martinez tries to build on his first outing of the year when he makes his home debut Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
To help bolster its pitching staff in an attempt to repeat as World Series champs, NL East-leading Philadelphia (66-49) signed Martinez on July 15 after the eight-time All-Star started the season recovering from a strained right shoulder.
In his first start since Sept. 25, Martinez earned the win in Wednesday’s 12-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs, allowing three runs and seven hits with five strikeouts in five innings. The 37-year-old right-hander threw 99 pitches with several clocked in the low 90s.
“It was really fun to actually get back to the game. Last year was a horrible year. It was a very tough year,” Martinez said of his final injury-slowed season with the New York Mets. “I actually feel good and it shows.”
Martinez (1-0, 5.40 ERA) now tries to duplicate that feeling at Citizens Bank Park, something that eluded him while pitching for the Mets. In four starts in Philadelphia with New York, Martinez went 1-1 with a 7.85 ERA.
This will be Martinez’s first start against the Diamondbacks (54-65) since allowing one run and five hits in five innings of a 15-2 victory for the Mets on June 11, 2006. He is 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA in his last four starts versus Arizona.
The Phillies, who took two of three in Arizona from July 27-29, are coming off a 5-1 road trip to move 4 1/2 games ahead of second-place Florida. This will be Philadelphia’s first home series since suffering a three-game sweep to the Marlins from Aug. 7-9.
The Phillies wrapped up their trip with a 4-1 win Sunday in Atlanta behind Ryan Howard’s(notes) two home runs and four RBIs. Howard is batting .429 with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last eight games.
The Diamondbacks are coming off Monday’s 9-4 loss to the Braves, a makeup for a May 17 rainout at Turner Field.
Arizona, which has lost two straight after winning four of five, has dropped a season-high four in a row on the road.
Garland has had little luck on the road lately, going 1-5 with a 3.32 ERA in his last nine starts. He has endured the same bad fortune in six outings since the All-Star break, going 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA with the Diamondbacks losing five of those games.
A sputtering offense averaging 3.74 runs in Garland’s starts - seventh-worst in the majors - has kept the right-hander from accumulating a few more victories.
Arizona’s offense backed Garland with one run Wednesday against the Mets. He gave up three runs and struck out seven in six innings of a 6-4 loss but didn’t receive a decision.
Garland took the loss against the Phillies in July, permitting six runs - three earned - in six innings.
Reynolds, who hit two home runs in the three games against the Phillies last month, is batting .325 with 13 homers and 20 RBIs in his last 20 games.