PHILADELPHIA -- It's Pedro Martinez in Game 2 of the World Series, which means Cole Hamels will pitch Game 3 on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Charlie Manuel said he wanted to split up his left-handed pitchers against the Yankees, which makes sense. But you've also got to think if Hamels were pitching better, that he would be pitching Game 2.
Hamels said he is OK with that.
"It's an honor to pitch. It's an honor to pitch at home," Hamels said. "Any time you get to pitch at home, I think it's great -- especially Game 3. Game 3 is very important. Jamie [Moyer] showed us how important it was last year. That could turn a series. You know what? I think it's going to be just as important as Game 1 or Game 2 or Game 4 or Game 5. I think this is going to be nice to have the home crowd and no DH. I couldn't ask for a better scenario."
Pitching coach Rich Dubee said last week that it seems most of Hamels' problems have been mental. Maybe he is putting too much pressure on himself. Maybe he has been too concerned with trying to match last season's postseason numbers.
Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts in 2008. He is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three postseason starts this year.
"When you have success early, you want to continue it," Hamels said. "You put a little bit too much pressure on trying to be that guy all the time, instead of just letting it happen. ... I've never gone through the struggles that I have, but I haven't had a long career yet. I've been able to talk to Pedro and Jamie and Cliff [Lee]. They've had their ups and downs. It's how you learn to deal with it. I think they understand when you do great things, people expect it to happen.
"All of a sudden you do kind of get wrapped up in expecting it to happen, and it can really throw you off your game. I think it has to a point. I don't want to make excuses. I haven't been able to do my job as well as I would like, and it's something that I'm fighting to be that caliber player that everybody expects me to be. But at the same time, I'm not going to put too much stress on it anymore because I've gotten myself in trouble when I try to expect too much."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.