AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
It wasn't vintage Martinez out there on the mound Wednesday, as he allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in five innings. In fact, there was a time in the fifth inning when it looked like he wouldn't last long enough to claim the victory the Philadelphia offense had handed him on a silver platter.
Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez all homered in the first four innings, giving Martinez a 12-1 cushion to work with, and although it took 99 pitches -- including 30 in the fifth -- for Martinez to retire enough batters to win his first start this season, the important thing is he got there and didn't seem any worse for the effort.
Certainly nobody expects Martinez to return to his Cy Young-winning form. He is a different pitcher now and doesn't always get the ball up to 90 mph, but he's a smarter pitcher, and more important than anything else, he's healthy, which is getting more and more uncommon for starting pitchers these days.
Case in point: Erik Bedard's season (if not his career) is most likely over for the Mariners, as he is set to undergo exploratory surgery on his left shoulder Friday. Age has nothing to do with it, either, as the Nationals' young ace-in-training, Jordan Zimmermann, is slated for Tommy John surgery next week. It's quite possible he won't pitch again until 2011.
"I'm healthy and I'm going to improve," Martinez said on the team's Web site Wednesday night. Isn't that all you can ask of a pitcher these days? Go ahead, fantasy owners, jump in with both feet. Vote for Pedro!
• More walk-off mania as Juan Uribe went yard in the bottom of the 10th to lead the Giants to a 4-2 win against the Dodgers. Tim Lincecum was not involved in the decision but nevertheless impressed as usual, with seven strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball. In the game for Los Angeles, Russell Martin moved to third base in a late-game shuffle of defensive positions, so he now is eligible to play there in leagues with a one-game requirement.
• David Wright went 3-for-5 and scored twice in the Mets' 6-4 win over the Diamondbacks. Wright had missed Tuesday's game with the flu and appeared to hurt himself in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game; the trainer rushed out to check on a player in obvious pain. Wright said it was just a slight knee strain and nothing to worry about, and since he stayed in the game, perhaps there's no reason to be concerned. But given the Mets' luck with injuries this season, color me concerned anyway.
• Business as usual for the Cardinals on Wednesday as Chris Carpenter struck out 10 Cincinnati hitters, reducing his ERA to 2.27 and his WHIP to 0.98 on the season in a 5-2 win against the Reds. Albert Pujols hit his 38th home run for St. Louis and hit a scalding line drive off the foot of Reds starter Homer Bailey in the first inning, which forced the pitcher from the game. Bailey will be re-evaluated by team doctors Thursday.
• Surviving a stretch in which they played games on 28 straight days, the A's beat the Orioles 6-3, finishing their marathon schedule at 14-14. Cliff Pennington played the final 13 of those games at shortstop since the Orlando Cabrera trade and now is batting .326 after a 3-for-3 afternoon.
• Two first basemen hit two home runs Wednesday, but only one could smile about it. Adam LaRoche drove in three runs with two solo shots and a bases-loaded walk as Atlanta beat the Nationals 6-2. Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena also hit two home runs, driving in three, but his team lost to the Angels 10-5. In addition, despite his 31 home runs, Pena's .216 batting average is nothing to grin at.
• Josh Beckett allowed only three hits in seven innings, striking out six and earning his major league-best 14th win of the season, 8-2 over the Tigers. Beckett ranks in the top 10 in the majors in ERA, strikeouts and WHIP, and therefore has clearly been one of the top fantasy pitchers for 2009. Jason Bay helped Beckett out with a 3-for-3 night, including his fourth home run in five games. Mike Lowell also continued his hot streak, going 3-for-4 with a home run, and will continue to see action as Kevin Youkilis serves his five-game suspension.
Hunter Pence, Astros
Pence hit two three-run homers, driving in a career-high six runs for Houston, giving rookie Bud Norris more than enough run support to improve to 3-0 on the season. Not one of Pence's 14 previous home runs this season had produced more than two runs, and it was only the second time all season he had more than two RBIs in one game.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
Jimenez shut down the Pirates with eight innings of three-hit ball, striking out six hitters to climb to seventh in the National League in that category. He also won his 10th game of the season, joining Jason Marquis, Aaron Cook and Jorge De La Rosa in the double-digit club. It's the first time in Rockies history that they've had four starters with 10 or more wins in the same season.
Not only does Tommy Hunter have the lowest ERA by an American League rookie with at least nine starts after Wednesday's 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Indians, but it's also the lowest such ERA by any Rangers rookie in the history of the franchise in Texas. The previous low belonged to Jim Bibby, with a 2.58 ERA through nine starts in 1973.
• After an inconclusive first MRI, Twins pitcher Glen Perkins is headed for Round 2 with the procedure as his left shoulder ills have sent him to the disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 9. Triple-A starter Jeff Manship was recalled from Rochester to replace Perkins on the roster but has minimal fantasy value, if any.
• One and down for Jhoulys Chacin, who was sent back to Triple-A by the Rockies after allowing four runs and six walks in 2 2/3 innings in Tuesday' start. Veteran Adam Eaton, signed by the team in June after being released by Baltimore, was added to the roster.
• San Diego activated catcher Nick Hundley from the disabled list. Hundley is finally able to return to action after missing 50 games with a fractured bone in his wrist. He's expected to be behind the plate to catch Cesar Carrillo in the pitcher's major league debut Thursday. To make room in the clubhouse, catcher Eliezer Alfonzo was sent to Triple-A Portland.
• Rumors had Rich Aurilia headed for his release with outfielder Nate Schierholtz ready to return from the 15-day DL, but the Giants instead discovered tendinitis in the veteran infielder's ankle and have sent him to the disabled list. Schierholtz went 1-for-3 against the Dodgers on Wednesday in his return to right field.
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Tristan H. Cockcroft: If Randy Ruiz got promoted instead, started Tuesday and homered, (and homered again Wednesday), it seems to suggest to me that the Blue Jays are trying to wait until the Sept. 1 roster expansion. Though, when you've got Joe Inglett starting in right field, when Snider gets promoted it means he's not going to be a kid who takes a seat. Just means you might only get a month's worth of production out of him, that's all.
-- Full chat transcript
Thursday's fantasy chat schedule:
A.J. Mass, 11 a.m. ET
Jason Grey, 3 p.m. ET
• Mat Gamel is hitting .357 in his past seven games after a 2-for-4 night with a double and an RBI for Triple-A Nashville. However, he's not the one getting the call from Milwaukee. That honor goes to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who will be bringing his 42 steals to the big leagues at last with J.J. Hardy being sent down to join Gamel in the Sounds' lineup. With the Brewers also designating Bill Hall for assignment, it seems odd that Gamel didn't also get promoted, but then again, the team has already seen what he can do. They'll likely wait until September with him as well.
• Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre has been nothing short of phenomenal with a .371 batting average since his return from the disabled list, but he is 0-for-10 lifetime against the Yankees' CC Sabathia.
• Bronson Arroyo is 0-3 in his past four starts, and the Nationals are no longer the pushovers they were earlier this season. However, Arroyo's second-half ERA is only 3.86, far less than his 5.38 first-half performance. Plus, he's going up against Collin Balester and his 7.94 ERA at the Great American Ballpark.
• For more on Thursday's games, check out Daily Notes.