Charlie Manuel surprised nobody on Sunday, announcing that Cliff Lee will start Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night,
against either the Yankees or the Angels. Lee has been everything the
Phillies hoped he would be and then some this postseason, going 2-0
with an 0.74 ERA and 0.70 WHIP over three starts.
But what was more telling was what
he didn’t say. Manuel refused to commit to Cole Hamels for the Game 2
assignment. After compiling a 4.32 ERA and 1.29 WHIP during the regular
season, last year’s World Series MVP has a 6.75 ERA over three starts
in the 2009 postseason. He has served up an alarming six home runs in
14 2/3 innings.
Though Manuel continues to hedge,
Pedro Martinez is a real possibility to start Game 2. Asked who he
would rather face in the World Series, it wasn’t hard for him to reveal his preference.
“I respect the Yankees. I love the Yankees. But I would love to beat them as bad as I look forward to them,” Martinez said.
Reminded of his long history with the Yankees, Martinez smiled and said: “Really? They have a long history with me.”
Martinez was brilliant in Game 2 of
the NLDS vs. the Dodgers, allowing just two hits over seven shutout
frames. Martinez hasn’t faced his former rivals since last June 27 as a
member of the Mets.
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.