Update: Due to cold and snow in Colorado, Saturday’s game has been postponed until Sunday at 8:07 p.m. Game 4 has been moved to Monday. A special thanks to reader Edmund for the FYI.
The Philadelphia Phillies organization has announced that right-hander Pedro Martinez will start Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Colorado Rockies today (Saturday). The game begins at 9:37 p.m. (eastern). With Joe Blanton having been used in relief on Thursday (albeit for just one inning), it made sense to go with the veteran hurler who has more playoff experience. As well, Martinez was signed late in the year for this very situation: October baseball.
Although he made just nine starts this year, Martinez was relatively effective despite lacking his fastball of yesteryear. Given that he topped five innings just four times, though, the bullpen could come into play early on Saturday. Luckily, both Blanton and J.A. Happ – starters during the regular season – are available in the ‘pen. In his last start of the regular season (against Houston), Martinez lasted just four innings and he allowed three runs – including two homers. His fastball was hitting 92 mph in the first inning, but it touched 90 mph just twice in the second inning and beyond.
To have success on Saturday, Martinez will need to mix his four pitches (fastball, slider/cutter, curve, change) and also have his good control (1.61 BB/9). The cold weather in Colorado could very well hamper his command of the ball. The forecast is calling for freezing drizzle during the day, which will turn to a light snow this evening as the temperature dips below freezing(!). There could even be a threat of fog if the game is a long one.
The edge would certainly seem to favor the Rockies club, as the players have more experience playing in colder temperatures (mind you, Philly isn’t exactly balmy right now). However, Martinez is a smart veteran hurler, whose numbers clearly show that he still has something in the tank.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.