PHILADELPHIA -- Those Phillies critics who were doubting Pedro Martinez's ability to pitch effectively after a long layoff were forced to turn their attention toward a familiar target.
While Brad Lidge has been pulling rabbits out of his hat during this postseason, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has looked like a skilled magician. But during the eighth inning of Friday's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers, Manuel looked more like a scout who was searching far and wide to find one effective arm. "We play day-to-day, and I know this was a tough loss and it's a big loss in a way, but at the same time our team .. we've bounced back before, and we'll bounce back again," Manuel said. While limiting the Dodgers to two hits during his seven-inning effort, Martinez certainly wasn't affected by the fact that he'd thrown just seven innings since Sept. 13. The 37-year-old right-hander threw 57 of his 87 pitches for strikes and allowed just one Dodger to advance as far as second base. "Actually he did a tremendous job, and he took it actually maybe farther than I anticipated when the game started," Manuel said. "To me, Pedro was done." Unfortunately for Manuel, Martinez's exit meant that his club's pitching dominance was done. During the eighth inning, five different Phillies relievers combined to throw just 16 of their 31 pitches for strikes. In addition, they were forced to pitch around the costly throwing error that Chase Utley committed on a double-play relay. Utley's second errant throw in two days allowed the Dodgers to dent the scoreboard and prolong the inning long enough for Andre Ethier to work the decisive seven-pitch, bases-loaded walk off J.A. Happ, a 12-game winner who has made one start and three other relief appearances thus far in the playoffs. "It was just a tough inning all around," Happ said. "Regardless of what happened that inning, my job is to come in and throw strikes."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.