It's all on Pedro's shoulders now

Leave a comment

The Phillies managed to score four runs in six innings against a fully rested Andy Pettitte in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday. Given that he’ll be working on short rest tonight, it seems doubtful that they’ll be shut down entirely. Pettitte hadn’t even started on four days’ rest since Sept. 5. His track record in big games shouldn’t be dismissed, but this is the most vulnerable he’s been in months.
So, tonight’s Game 6 figures to come down to Pedro Martinez. With the possibility of Mariano Rivera for two innings looming, it’s imperative that the Phillies build an early lead. If they don’t go to the bullpen ahead by two or three runs, it’s advantage Yankees.
WEEI’s Alex Speier has the rundown on Martinez’s previous record in elimination games. The future Hall of Famer played a big role in some of Boston’s comebacks, winning Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against the Indians, Game 5 of the 2003 ALDS against the A’s and Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees.
Perhaps even more famously, though, Martinez blew Boston’s lead in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Yankees. That game, ended by a walkoff homer in Aaron Boone in extra innings, cost Grady Little his job as Boston’s manager.
Martinez doesn’t figure to get a chance to spoil a late-inning lead tonight. With any luck, manager Charlie Manuel learned his lesson by sending Martinez back out for the seventh inning in Game 2. If Pedro can hold the Yankees to two runs over six innings — which is what he did last time out before Manuel pushed his luck — then the Phillies should be in pretty good position to send the World Series to a Game 7.
*****
I’ll be hosting a live chat during Game 6. Check back at 8 pm EST to join in.

Bruce Maxwell is the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem

Getty Images
35 Comments

Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

Getty Images
2 Comments

This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.