Pedro Martinez dominates the Mariners ... again
ON THIS DATE (May 18, 2002) ... If there ever was a time the Mariners should have had a shot against Martinez, it was today, a day fit for neither man nor beast, never mind a child of the tropics and the huddled masses who waited out a 125-minute rain delay to watch him.
The conditions, Martinez said, were the worst in which he ever has been asked to work. Between innings, he wore huge red gloves that could be used to shovel snow.
But nine pitches into the game, Martinez made it worth their wait. Nine pitches, nine strikes. Three Mariners up, three Mariners down, all dragging their bats back to the dugout. It was 41 degrees, windy, and wet when the Red Sox prepared for the first pitch against the Mariners. Martinez's first pitch was a strike. His second pitch was a strike. So was his third. So were the next six. He made Ichiro Suzuki, Mark McLemore, and Ruben Sierra look like kids who just arrived from Tacoma. He was on his game, theoretically competing with the Mariners but realistically trying to outdo himself.
The next inning, Martinez needed only four pitches to dispatch the Mariners, a team with a road record as glittering as the Sox'. Boone rolled a ground ball to short. Olerud popped to second. Cameron popped to short.
By then, Martinez had a 3-0 lead. By then, Piniella knew his team was in trouble. So did the Mariners.
To the Mariners, Martinez is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. They have never beaten him. He has a 10-0 record with a 0.94 ERA against Lou Piniella's team. He has beaten them in Seattle's steady drizzle. He has beaten them in Boston's cold May rain. He has allowed the Mariners a ration of eight earned runs in 77 innings.
Brett Boone, who had 142 RBIs last season for the Mariners, never has knocked in a run against Martinez. Mike Cameron, who hit four home runs in a game a couple of weeks ago in Chicago, has two home runs against Edgar Martinez, but has whiffed 13 times in 24 at-bats.
Some say his curve looks like a curve. Others say it resembles a screwball. Some say it has fastball qualities. Pedro just nods, smiles, gives credit to his teammates, and wins.
The park is full of hope when he is on the mound. He went eight innings, gave up six hits and struck out nine. His most outrageous stat of the day is that he threw 99 pitches, 73 of them for strikes. All that, and true Pedrophiles can tell you that the performance may not rank in the pitcher's Top 10.
He is one the most dynamic pitchers in baseball.