LOS ANGELES -- After
Martinez may be known for his ruthlessness, the headhunter who once said he'd like to hit
Martinez only signed with the Phillies in July, injured a rib last month and was working on a 17-day layoff, but the Dodgers should have known they were in trouble when they checked the thermostat. It was 93 degrees at game time, stifling for most players, perfectly comfortable for Martinez. In Boston, he complained endlessly about low temperatures in the playoffs, but in Los Angeles he finally found an October afternoon that reminded him of his native Dominican Republic. "That's my weather," he said. Still, he felt enough of a chill in the air to wear a long-sleeve T-shirt under his jersey.
He retired the side in order in the first and the second, and as he walked to the dugout, he seemed to have convinced himself it was 1999 again. Martinez is nowhere near the same pitcher, age having sapped many miles per hour, but at least he has rediscovered his aura. He did not allow an extra-base hit. He let only one runner reach scoring position. Twice he popped up his good friend,
Martinez, always keenly aware of his surroundings, surveyed the crowd between pitches. He saw Lakers star
The Phillies needed five pitchers to get through the eighth, and in the process, they ruined one of the sweetest storylines of this post-season. They misplayed a bunt. They walked in a run. They allowed a run on a high throw by second baseman
Now, there is a chance they will have to come back to Dodger Stadium, and guess who would be in line to start a possible Game 7? If Martinez is looking for a dramatic farewell tour, the stage has been set.