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Pedro Martinez dominant in Phillies' game two loss against Dodgers


Pedro Martinez would have been the story of the 2009 playoffs thus far had things played out differently in Los Angeles today.  Instead, he's the latest pitcher in playoff history to have a dominant start go up in smoke.  

All the stars were aligned for this so-called over the hill pitcher who supposedly had nothing left in the tank.  Americans are thirsty for stories like this.  The Hall of Famer with his best years behind him is basically out of baseball.  Then a team takes a chance on this veteran.  He works himself back into shape.  And, not only does he defy the odds and make the postseason rotation after coming in as a fifth starter, but he has a chance to put his team up 2-0 in the opposing ballpark.  And, on top of that, this veteran pitcher returns to his form from his glory days and will lead his team to victory.  

For seven innings it looked that way.  

Pedro Martinez brought his A-game against the Dodgers in his first playoff game since the 2006 playoffs.  He pitched seven beautiful innings, allowing just two hits, and no runs.

Then things changed in dramatic fashion for the Fightins when they brought in Chan Ho Park in just his second appearance since being sidelined with a ribcage injury in September.  Park quickly allowed two base runners in the top of the eighth and suddenly the 40,000-plus zombies in Dodgers Stadium were brought back to life.  

Chase Utley who is normally reliable on defense blundered a double play attempt in the eigth inning, which allowed Juan Pierre to score.

Suddenly a 1-0 game, became a 1-1 deadlock, with all the pressure on the Phillies. 

Fast forward to later in the inning with Ryan Madson on the hill and he made a once 1-0 dominant victory transform into a 2-1 trainwreck by loading the bases and walking the go-ahead run in.

This was the Phillies' game to win and had they gone up 2-0 tonight this series was history.  Forget about the Phillies going back to L.A. because the Dodgers would have had a dagger stuck in their collective hearts the size of the Eiffel Tower.  The odds of a team coming back in a playoff series down 0-2 is miniscule.  Added to that, it's a huge psychological blow to a team when they lose not just the first game, but their first two games at home.

On the day after the Phillies knocked out Clayton Kershaw (the superstar in the making) in the 5th inning and knocking the cover off the ball, the Phillies' offense was abysmal.  They managed just a run on 4 hits off former Phillie Vicente Padilla.  Ryan Howard was the lone bright spot on offense, hitting a solo homer in the 4th inning.

The Dodgers leave the cozy confines of Southern California and head to Philadelphia a much more confident team after their grind-it-out victory. Philadelphia's weather is going to shock the systems of the players on both sides.  They'll go from playing in summerlike conditions to nearly frigid conditions on Sunday night if the game is played.

Fox's Jon Bolaris says it's highly unlikely the game gets played on Sunday night, so we could be looking at yet another weather-related postponement for the Phillies.  

Stay tuned.

Photo by Stephen Dunn-Getty Images