Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pedro Wins Debut with Plenty of Help

It wasn't vintage Pedro Martinez, but with the Phillies offense backing him, it didn't need to be. Pedro won his Phillies debut handily, defeating the Cubs 12-5.

It's always nice to start out with a lead and Pedro had that in his favor. The Phillies scored two runs in the top of the 1st, as Chase Utley and Ryan Howard each drove in a run. Shane Victorino hit a two-run homer in the 3rd to give the Phillies four runs.

Then came the 4th inning. Carlos Ruiz drove in a run and, after Pedro grounded out, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija was pulled for Sean Marshall. Jimmy Rollins greeted Marshall with a three-run shot, then got to coaching. After Rollins gave Raul Ibanez some sage advice, Ibanez hit a three-run homer of his own. Pedro Feliz drove in the Phillies' final run of the inning (and the game), giving the Phillies 12 runs.

For his part, Pedro was solid. He only had one 1-2-3 inning (the 4th) and got into trouble a couple of times; most notably in the 5th inning, when he gave up two runs. He showed impressive breaking stuff and his fastball, while typically hovering in the high-80's, touched 92 mph once or twice. All in all, he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings, allowing 7 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 5 batters.

After one start, it's unclear whether or not Pedro is any better than Jamie Moyer. However, for his first major league start of the season, it was somewhat encouraging. Both his control and his stuff is better than that of Moyer and one has to think he'll have similar success against the teams Moyer typically fared well against, while standing a better chance against the more disciplined teams that hammerred Moyer.

It's unfair to grade Pedro on one start, but, if nothing else, he seemed to fire up the Phillies, who backed him up with one of their better offensive performances of the season. We'll see how it lasts, but at the end of the day, Pedro is 1-0 as a Phillie.

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