Grady Little has been crucified by miserable Red Sox fans for keeping Pedro Martinez in a playoff game too long. Charlie Manuel is now drawing the ire of miserable Phillies fans for pulling Pedro too early in a playoff game. Oddly enough, I’ve been on the opposite side of the 20/20 hindsighters both times. I went down with Grady using his reasoning — Pedro’s the best guy Boston had and there wasn’t another pitcher I’d rather see in there with the game on the line. Sox fans were only so bitter because blowing the lead encapsulated 85 years of losing to New York. Exactly six years later Charlie Manuel pulled Pedro from a two-hit shutout against the Dodgers and went to the bullpen. The Phils blew the 1-0 lead and now people are now criticizing Manuel the same way they did Little, but I support his decision.
Pedro hadn’t pitched since September 30th prior to Friday’s outing against the Dodgers. The Phillies should have just been thanking their lucky Liberty Bells they got such a strong start out of a guy who hadn’t pitched in a game in almost three weeks. Secondly, Pedro was coming up to bat in the 8th and there was a man on in what was only a one-run game. Don’t you want to give your team a good chance at padding the lead with a pinch hitter? Additionally, Pedro hurt himself swinging against the Braves a month ago. Do you really want to see him injure himself again? Lastly, Chase Utley makes a routine throw on a double-play ball and we’re probably not even talking about this issue (we’re probably talking about a blown save in the 9th).
At the same time that we’re crediting Pedro for a stellar start we also have to credit Nicaragua’s own Vicente Padilla for a strong start. He kept the Dodgers in the game by allowing just the one run, making the comeback easier. I back Charlie on this one and Pedro does too.