June 3, 2004

It's Official. I am worried about Pedro Martinez. Seriously worried. He had next to nothing last night, in 72-degree Anaheim. He has made 12 starts -- that's about one-third of the 2004 season -- and his ERA is 4.40. ... 4.40 ... He's allowed more than one hit per inning -- 76 in 75.2 innings -- something he has never done over an entire season in his career. According to Bowlerman9, for Pedro to finish the season with 200 innings and a 2.75 ERA (quite poor by previous Pedro standards), he needs to pitch at 1.73 for the rest of the year. Is there anyone out there that thinks that is even remotely possible?

Look at his performance last night (* = rbi):

1st inning: single, K, home run**, walk, F8, FC
2nd inning: 1-6-3, 6-3, F9
3rd inning: single, single, double**, HBP, F9, F8 (deep), K
4th inning: single, K, single, single, L9*, 3U
5th inning: single, single, K, P4, 6-3

Dave Wallace came out to talk to Pedro after the second single in the 5th. Martinez had thrown 86 pitches and it seemed clear that if could get out of this inning, that would be the end of his outing (Lenny DiNardo had been warming up after the 3rd single in the 4th inning). At that point, Martinez turned it on, throwing 92-94 mph consistently. We've seen this many times; Pedro knows he's at the end of his outing and he "empties the tank" (I hate that expression, but it fits). He struck out Kotchman on three pitches, got Benji Molina to miss two pitches before popping to second and got Kennedy to ground to shortstop (a fantastic play by Pokey behind the mound that was almost an infield hit). Martinez walked off the mound with this line: 5 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, 98 pitches.

While the Red Sox batted in the 6th, Pedro was on the bench, his right hand wrapped in a towel, listening intently to Wallace. Martinez's night was, in fact, not over. Francona sent Martinez back out to start the 6th. For those of you scoring at home, this is the 3rd (some would say the 4th) consecutive game that Tito has Gumped the starter, leaving him in for more punishment when it's clear to almost everyone else that he is cooked, out of gas, bleeding, etc. ...

Of course, Pedro had nothing left (he was back to throwing only 91). Eckstein got his 4th single off Martinez and then Figgins walked on 4 pitches. Timlin came in at that point and Guerrerro launched a 3-run bomb to left center (he finished with 9 rbi) and the lead (and the game) was gone. ... Tito's decision wasn't Game 7-bad, but it was no less foolish and it still caused smoke to pour out of my ears. What is going through that man's head?

P.S.: K-Rod didn't have his sharp fastball in the 9th and walked Bellhorn. No problem. He went exclusively with his curve and quickly retired the side, throwing one bender to Manny that made Ramirez's knees buckle like he was a 17-year-old rookie. ... The Angels are scary.

No comments: