Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Sermon on the Mound

He's going to take me out. That was Pedro Martinez's first thought. With two out in the eighth inning of a 1-0 game and the tying run on second base, he is going to take me out.

The Sermon on the Mound

He's going to take me out. That was Pedro Martinez's first thought. With two out in the eighth inning of a 1-0 game and the tying run on second base, he is going to take me out.

"I didn't like it," Martinez said later.

I'm not going to take him out. That was Charlie Manuel's first thought. With two out in the eighth inning of a 1-0 game and an injury-depleted bullpen at the tail end of a doubleheader and a future Hall of Famer on the mound pitching like he did when he was 32, no way in hell am I going to take him out.

"When I went to the mound, I was leaving him in anyway, because I liked him on their hitters," Manuel said later.

As the manager made his way from the dugout to the mound, the infielders converged to meet him. Trotting in from second base, Chase Utley saw the look in Martinez's eyes.

"He might not get you," Martinez later recalled Utley saying. "(Utley) asked me if I wanted the guy, and I said yeah I want him."

And, sure enough, Manuel asked him the same thing.

"You got anything left?" the manager asked.

"I want him," the pitcher answered.

And then the meeting broke, and the manager trotted back to the dugout, and the infielders returned to their positions, and Martinez toed the rubber and stared in at Jeremy Reed.

"Just looking in his eyes told me that he wanted him," Manuel recalled later.

Two pitches later - the 129th and 130th of the evening for the 37-year-old Martinez - the inning was over, as Carlos Ruiz blocked an off-speed pitch in the dirt, then picked it up and threw out Daniel Murphy trying to take third base. Martinez pumped his fist and walked off the mound to a standing ovation, eight scoreless innings behind him.

Later, after Ryan Madson capped off a pivotal doubleheader sweep by closing out the ninth inning of a 1-0 victory, Manuel walked wearily to a podium deep in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park.

"Whew," he said into the microphone.

The Phillies had entered the day facing the possibility of letting their lead in the National League East slip to 3.5 games. But by the end of it - after six hours of baseball and 15 1/3 innings of starting pitching and a 2-for-15 performance by the line-up with runners in scoring position -- their record had grown to 82-60, and their lead in the divison to 6.5 with 20 left to play.

Plenty more in Monday's paper.

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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