Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 29, 2003
BASEBALL: Don't Cy For Me
Now, long-time readers know that I'm a big fan of San Pedro de Fenway here, but even though he was baseball's most effective starting pitcher this season, and at the risk of contradicting what I just said below about Maddux, I just can't see giving Pedro another Cy Young Award this season:
1. He only won 14 games.
Not only did Pedro not pitch for nearly a month, but in Pedro's 11 no decisions, he threw less than 7 innings five times. He also left after 7 five others. Now, 7 innings should get you a decision in today's baseball, so including those in the case against Pedro may not be fair; let's take a look at those five starts:
March 31 (Opening Day) in Tampa: Martinez leaves with a 4-1 lead after throwing 91 pitches, having allowed a run in the seventh. Hard to fault him here; it was Opening Day, he had a comfortable lead against a rotten team, and Alan Embree and Chad Fox imploded in the ninth inning to lose the game 6-4.
April 27 at Anaheim: Again, Martinez is lifted after allowing a run in the seventh; he leaves with a 4-2 lead after throwing 101 pitches. A lot of pitchers might have been pulled at that point, so it's unfair to give him all the blame for the fact that Brandon Lyon and Chad Fox each allowed runs (in the 8th and 9th) and the Sox had to go 14 innings to reclaim victory.
June 21 at Philadelphia: Martinez throws 92 pitches, leaves with a 2-1 lead. This one really looks like a game where you'd want your ace pitcher to go 8 with a shaky bullpen. Mike Timlin lets Jim Thome go deep in the 8th to tie it; in the absence of a lefthander, you'd rather have seen Pedro pitch to Thome than a famously gopher-prone righthander. Jason Shiell lets Thome go deep in the 12th, and he and Rudy Seanez blow the game in the 13th.
July 7 at Yankee Stadium: The most notorious of the bunch; the Hated Yankees tie the game 1-1 in the sixth, and Martinez leaves after 7 having thrown 115 pitches. Byun-Hyung Kim blows it in the 9th. Verdict: pitching the 8th might not have made a difference, and Martinez had thrown plenty of pitches here.
July 12 at Detroit: Martinez throws 105 pitches, Red Sox take a 2-1 lead in the top of the 8th, the 24-66 Tigers tie it up in the bottom of the 8th off Embree and the game goes 11. This one's really not Martinez' fault so much as the bullpen's.
Interesting that each of these games was on the road, and all were before the All-Star Break. Even if you exonerate Martinez in each of these five games, the team's overall 4-7 record in his no-decisions, combined with his starting only 29 games in the first place, really has to lead you to conclude that Martinez just wasn't a big enough factor to win the award. That leaves the field to Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson and Esteban Loaiza. (Note that the A's were 10-1 in Hudson's no decisions). I think I'd give the award to Hudson, myself; he carried a heavier innings load (240) than Loaiza (219), but had a considerably better ERA (2.70) than the other two (2.96 for Loaiza and 3.25 for Halladay).