Start is put on ice
Martinez given the cold shoulder
DENVER - The snow in Colorado yesterday scrapped plans for Pedro Martinez’s first postseason start in five years.
Game 3 of the Philadelphia-Colorado playoff series was postponed a day because of weather better-suited for cross-country skiing. That prompted a pitching switch by the Phillies, with lefthander J.A. Happ going to the mound tonight at 10 instead of the 37-year-old Martinez. The Rockies are sticking with Jason Hammel.
The Phillies holed up in their hotel yesterday with no plans of working out at the ballpark. The Rockies summoned their players for a 90-minute workout inside Coors Field.
“We just want to keep ourselves on somewhat of a schedule,’’ manager Jim Tracy said.
Tracy suspected this might not be a night for baseball when even his dogs wanted to skip their morning walk. Major League Baseball agreed with Tracy’s beagles, pushing back Game 3 of this NLDS to tonight and Game 4 to tomorrow.
The series is tied at one game each. Game 5, if necessary, will be played Tuesday in Philadelphia, without a day off for travel.
“I think it’s a very wise decision,’’ Tracy said. “There’s no question about the type of play that you would see in this kind of weather vs. if you have better conditions that they’re calling for. To be cold and wet and rainy and sleety or snowy is completely different than cold and dry and clear.’’
Surely any dog would know that. Well, at least Tracy’s.
“We got up to take the dogs for a walk and when two beagles don’t want to go outside,’’ he said. “It was snowing and 18 degrees, not very conducive for baseball.’’
With the day off yesterday, both teams could go back to Game 1 starters tomorrow, Ubaldo Jimenez for Colorado and Cliff Lee for Philadelphia.
Happ, a rookie, said Friday that he felt better after being knocked out of Game 1. He had entered in relief and took a hard liner off his left leg in the seventh inning.
Before the weather changed things, Martinez was set to make his first postseason start since he won Game 3 for Boston at St. Louis in the 2004 World Series.
The postponement allowed manager Charlie Manuel to put Happ back into his rotation, two-fifths of which he had burned in Game 2 Thursday in Philadelphia. Joe Blanton pitched an inning of relief, giving up a run in Colorado’s 5-4 win, and Happ had to leave when Seth Smith hit a hard liner off the lower part of his left leg. X-rays were negative.
A cold front moved into Denver overnight, dropping temperatures into the teens with record lows for the date. Coors Field was covered with a thin layer of snow and ice and flurries were expected to continue through the night.
With the front moving out last night, temperatures are expected to approach 50 today.