Saturday, September 25, 2004

Hideki, Terry, and Who's Your Daddy

"What can I say? I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."
-- Pedro Martinez (NY Daily News)

Another Yanks/Red Sox series, another Pedro/Mussina matchup, and another controversy over how long Pedro stays in the game. With the score 4-3 Boston going into the eighth, Martinez comes out to pitch. He'd already thrown about 100 pitches, and was facing his old pal, Hideki Matsui. Same Matsui that doubled off him in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS.

Hideki homered off some 85 MPH cheese. After Jorge Posada whiffed, Bernie Williams took a changeup to right for his second double of the game. Still no relief. Then Ruben Sierra singled off Pedro, to score Bernie.

Here comes the cavalry, as late as the cops in an episode of Batman.

Now, last year when Grady Little left Pedro in too long in the ALCS, the Boston bullpen had struggled during the regular season. This year Red Sox relievers have the fifth-best ERA in the league (advanced stats, like Baseball Prospectus' Reliever Evaluation Tools, rank the Sox pen a little lower). You'd think that this year Francona would have more confidence in his relievers, or less confidence in Martinez against the Yanks.

As for Pedro, he needs to make peace with the Ghost of the Bambino. Perhaps a nice seance back in D.R. during the off-season. But it has to burn the big talkers on the Red Sox that after starting 6-1 against the Yanks, the Yankees could tie the season series with a win tonight.

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