NEW YORK -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel might have placed a sixth-inning phone call to former Red Sox skipper Grady Little on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium when he left right-hander Pedro Martinez in Game 2 of the World Series as he hovered around the 100-pitch mark.
Martinez seemed about done with two outs and none on in the sixth when Hideki Matsui homered to give the Yanks a one-run lead on their way to a 3-1, series-tying win. Yet, Manuel opted to bring Martinez out again to pitch the seventh. This came after Manuel had a long talk in the dugout with Martinez.
"He said he felt good," Manuel said. "He said that he was fine. He said that he wanted to go back out and pitch. The bottom of the lineup was up and everything, and I thought he hadn't lost anything."
That's precisely what Martinez told Little. Little was the guy, who in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, left Martinez in to face a hostile crowd and a rousing Yankees comeback across 161st Street in the old Yankee Stadium.
When the bottom of the eighth inning began, the Red Sox had a 5-2 lead and seemed headed to the World Series. Martinez got the first out, but four batters later, the score was tied and Martinez was yanked from the game, having tossed 123 pitches. The Yanks won the pennant on Aaron Boone's 11th-inning walk-off homer and the rest is history.
Little never lived the move down and was dismissed shortly thereafter.
On Thursday night, Martinez, who claimed later that he was "under the weather," opened the seventh by allowing singles to Jerry Hairston Jr. and Melky Cabrera. Manuel went out and yanked him with his pitch count having reached 107. Six years ago, the word on Martinez was that he lost juice as he crossed the 100-pitch threshold. All these miles, arm injuries and pitches later, that threshold probably should be about 10-20 pitches lower.
As Martinez left the field, he smiled as he was again taunted by the familiar Yankees fans.
"It's a new Yankee Stadium, but the fans remain the fans," he said. "They're going to give it to you, but I enjoy that. I played for the Mets. I know they really want to root for me. It's just that I don't play for the Yankees, that's all. I've always been a good competitor and they love that. They love the fact that I compete. I'm a New Yorker, as well. If I was on the Yankees, I'd probably be like a king over here."
There were also mitigating circumstances on Thursday night. Martinez said he had felt weak for several days leading into the game. "That's not an excuse, but I didn't feel quite as strong," Martinez said. "I haven't been eating right. I've had very little sleep. But I felt good enough to make pitches, and that's what I told him."
Evidently, he didn't impart that information to Manuel before he made the start.
"Not at all," Martinez said. "I wasn't going to give anybody the opportunity to take me out, regardless of how much I coughed and how much my chest and throat hurt or whatever. I was going to make this start, because this was something I had in mind when I chose [in July] to play with this team. It was to start a game in the World Series or pitch in the World Series with this team.
"I got it. I can say I finally got it and I'm extremely happy to have had that opportunity today."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.