Charlie Manuel announced that Pedro Martinez will start game 2 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium. It will be his seventh career appearance in the playoffs versus New York. The main question everyone should be asking is: why?
Supposedly Manuel is worried about Hamels’s recent struggles in the playoffs, whereas Pedro pitched reasonably well. That analysis is foolish. Cole Hamels is basically the same pitcher he was last year when he was named World Series MVP. His 2009 and 2008 FIPs are equal, but his BABIP rose from (an admittedly lucky) .270 in 2008 to .325 in 2009. He is allowing roughly the same amount of homers, while striking out more per 9 and walking less per 9.
Martinez, on the other hand, just doesn’t have it anymore. According to Fangraphs, he had a meager 29.5 GB rate. In Yankee stadium facing the likes of Mark Teixeira, who can use that right field porch, and A-Rod, who can hit it out of anywhere, this is a recipe for disaster.
Hamels has been better than Pedro in every facet of the game this year. Sure, Pedro has turned in some historic performances against the Yankees and if this were 1999 instead of 2009 he’d be the slam dunk right choice. Hopefully for all baseball fans’ sake he still has one more night of magic in that right arm.