MLB: Martinez returns for Phillies as road chalk

MLB: Martinez returns for Phillies as road chalk

It may not have the same fanfare as Tom Brady’s return at quarterback for the New England Patriots, but Wednesday night marks the return to the majors for one of the games most dominant pitchers of the early decade. Pedro Martinez takes to the mound for h

2009-08-12

It may not have the same fanfare as Tom Brady’s return at quarterback for the New England Patriots, but Wednesday night marks the return to the majors for one of the games most dominant pitchers of the early decade. Pedro Martinez takes to the mound for his newest team, the Phillies, and is greeted with a warm reception by oddsmakers, as they have made him a -110 road favorite in Chicago against the Cubs. Bettors aren’t exactly on the bandwagon yet though, as over 60% of them at Sportsbook.com are backing the hosts in early action.

The Phillies finally feel Martinez is ready to return to form. The 37-year-old right-hander makes his Philadelphia debut and his first appearance in almost a year Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

The last time Martinez took the mound in the majors, he allowed five runs and struck out nine in six innings, but didn't receive a decision in a 7-6 win over the Cubs on Sept. 25, while with the New York Mets. After finishing 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA last season, the three-time Cy Young Award winner filed for free agency and went without a team until July 15, when the Phillies (62-48) signed him.

On the disabled list with a mild shoulder strain, Martinez will be activated Wednesday after going 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in three minor league rehab starts. It would seem then that bettors are paying a lot more attention to his recent outings rather that his glorious past.

Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3, 12-inning victory over Chicago on Tuesday. Chicago has now lost five of six.

In a move that reeks of desperation, the Cubs will send their own brand new starting pitcher to the hill to face Martinez, as after 42 career relief appearances, Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 6.29) will make his first start for Chicago in this contest.

The fact that Philadelphia is the favorite could be an important factor in this game, as to say the Cubbies have struggled in the underdog role this season would be a vast understatement:

* CHICAGO CUBS are 4-21 (-16.4 Units) against the money line as an underdog of +100 or higher this season. The average score was CHICAGO CUBS 3.0, OPPONENT 5.4 - (Rating = 4*)

Meanwhile, the Phillies remain the league’s best road team, both in terms of winning percentage and units won for bettors at 33-19, +15.5 units.

In addition, manager Charlie Manuel’s team has breezed through the N.L. Central Division in its current run of success.

* PHILADELPHIA is 46-23 (+18.5 Units) against the money line against NL Central opponents over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 5.4, OPPONENT 3.5 - (Rating = 1*)

Game time is set for 8:05 PM ET from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.


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