pedro martinez
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News Archive for April 21-30, 2002
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April 30, 2002

AL Honors Lowe
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Derek Lowe was named American League Player of the Week after throwing the 16th no-hitter in Red Sox history and the first at Fenway Park in nearly 37 years on Saturday. Lowe, who is tied for the league lead in victories (four), has held opponents to a paltry .129 batting average. Teammate Manny Ramirez was honored as Player of the Week the previous week, giving the Sox back-to-back winners for the first time since Nomar Garciaparra (Aug. 12-18) and John Valentin (Aug. 19-25) in 1997. ... Red Sox Press Release

Montreal Expos improving its offense and averaging 5.5 runs per game
espn.com Insider

              2002     2001
Batting:       1st     14th
Slugging:      2nd     15th
On Base:       1st     15th
OPS:           1st     14th
Runs:          1st     14th
Hits:          1st     15th
Walks:         1st     14th

 

April 29, 2002

American League Lowest Opponents Batting Average

1. Derek Lowe     .129
2. Pedro Martinez .159
3. Frank Castillo .176

The lowdown on Lowe's no-no
Ian Browne, mlb.com

A third of the way through what ended up being the game of his life, Derek Lowe was too frustrated to know that a magical no-hitter was coming. In the top of the third inning on Saturday, the Red Sox righty issued a leadoff walk to Tampa Bay's Brent Abernathy. Though Lowe got the next three hitters on groundouts, he walked off the mound with a bad taste in his mouth. He hated the way his mechanics felt in that inning, so he trudged through the tunnel that goes from the Sox dugout to the clubhouse.

Executive Thomas lets out trade secret
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Red Sox fans long have recognized the trade that brought Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to Boston from Seattle in 1997 for Heathcliff Slocumb as one of the best by former general manager Dan Duquette, if not any GM in franchise history. But fans may not know exactly how special it was. Lee Thomas, a Sox baseball executive who was GM of the Phillies at the time of the deal, disclosed yesterday that he was competing with Duquette for Lowe's services. ... No pitcher who has thrown a no-hitter did so after accumulating more saves than Lowe (85). Ken Forsch, who threw one for the Astros in 1979, ranks second with 50 saves.

Rainy-day fund: Postponement gives Pedro extra day of rest
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

The rainout permitted manager Grady Little to push back his starting rotation by a day, which will provide Pedro Martinez an extra day of rest. Martinez, who was scheduled to make his first start of the season on four days' rest tomorrow, will now get an extra day before facing the Baltimore Orioles in the series finale on Wednesday. "Barring any more rainouts, he now won't have to go on the fifth day until May 12,'' Little said.

Friday Afternoon with Bud
Doug Pappas, baseballprospectus.com

Something about this column struck a nerve at Major League Baseball. Two days after it was posted, Rich Levin, MLB's Senior Vice President-Public Relations, called the SABR office to get my phone number. Two hours later, an efficient-sounding woman left a voice mail in which she said that Commissioner Bud Selig wanted to speak to me. She invited me to call him back at his office in Milwaukee. What the heck, it was a slow day at work. I grabbed a pad and pen. When I called back, my experience was a lot like Rob Neyer's. I felt like a student being lectured by an insecure professor for disagreeing with the thesis of his latest book.

 

April 28, 2002

Red Sox righty mixes pitches to baffle Rays
Robert Lee, Providence Journal

Derek Lowe had come within six outs of a no-hitter in his first start this season, and he admitted the feeling had been intoxicating. "I thought, 'What would it be like to actually do it?'" he said. But "the second it comes into your mind, you've got to get back to the real world." Yesterday, for Derek Lowe and the Red Sox, pitching a no-hitter WAS the real world.

Lowe and behold -- he's for real
Art Martone, Providence Journal

Strange game, baseball. Prior to last April 4, it had been 35½ years since a Red Sox pitcher had thrown a no-hitter. Now they've thrown two in the last 388 days. ... "I picked him as my Cy Young [Award winner] for this year," Pedro Martinez told reporters after yesterday's game. "He's got so much potential." ...

In his latest book, Win Shares, baseball analyst Bill James writes that there have been 30 cases in baseball history when a team had the two best pitchers in the league. Two of those cases were in back-to-back years, 1999 and 2000. The team? The Red Sox. The pitchers? Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe. "Nobody noticed," wrote James, "and this will be a surprise to even the Red Sox fans reading this. Martinez was so good, in both seasons, that nobody thought to put Derek Lowe in the same group with him, even though Lowe was excellent."

 

April 27, 2002

Thrown a Curve, Pedro Digs In
Thomas Boswell, Washington Post

Every game, every inning, every single pitch is precious to Pedro Martinez now. Because, even though he is only 30 years old, he doesn't know how many more he has left. Every day he wakes, wondering about the state of his right shoulder. After all, Sandy Koufax quit at 30. The brightest flames sometimes burn out first. ... 

Baseball has no more precious pitcher and person than Pedro -- nor one more precariously perched at the very top of the sport. He has the strikeout stuff and stifling presence of Randy Johnson, yet is almost a foot shorter. He has the every man physique of Greg Maddux, as well as the same touch, craft and acumen, yet he throws almost 10 mph faster.

No other pitcher approaches his combination of qualities, his variety of attack. Perhaps none ever has. He is the slim deceiver one moment, then the intimidator, even the knockdown menace, the next. He torments hitters like a picador with sliders and change-ups, then finishes them off like a matador with blazing heat or a curve as sharp as any in the game. With his best stuff, he can humiliate whole teams. On his worst days, he can still drive them crazy with cunning and win anyway with next to nothing.

That's why, every time he takes the mound this season, the whole baseball world, not just the fatalistic Red Sox Nation, goes to the hill with him. He is irreplaceable, infectious, adorable. And living on the edge.

Belle denies allegations, rips Vizquel in radio interview
Associated Press

"No, I never used a corked bat," Albert Belle said. "... And if I was using cork, don't you think I would have hit 60 or 70 homers in a season? If all my bats were corked, how come they haven't surfaced? A lot of my bats were lifted from my locker. Don't you think all the people who hated me over the course of the my career would have gone out of their way to steal one of my corked bats? ... He must not have had anything to write about. He sure doesn't have enough interesting things to write about from his career."

 

April 25, 2002

Links to stories about Pedro's Thursday start against Baltimore are here.

Red Sox Notebook
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

Pedro Martinez, who reached 2,000 strikeouts faster than any pitcher in history, this afternoon will be making his first start since achieving that milestone in a scoreless, one-hit, eight-inning performance last Friday night in Kansas City. Martinez recorded his 2,000th K when he fanned Michael Tucker in the fourth inning. That gave him 2,000 in 1,711.1 innings; Randy Johnson achieved his 2,000th strikeout in his 1,733d inning in 1997. ''I didn't know that I was the fastest until a friend from the Dominican called and told me,'' Martinez said. Martinez has 1,033 of his strikeouts with the Sox, just 10 behind the No. 4 pitcher on the Sox' all-time list, Bruce Hurst.

Pedro is one of nine pitchers to have more strikeouts than hits allowed
(minimum 2000 strikeouts; stats include games of April 24):

                     SO      HITS     DIFF
1 Nolan Ryan        5714     3923     1791
2 Randy Johnson     3463     2137     1326
3 Pedro Martinez    2003     1278      725
4 Sandy Koufax      2396     1754      642
5 Sam McDowell      2453     1948      505
6 Roger Clemens     3751     3334      417
7 David Cone        2655     2484      171
8 Curt Schilling    2080     1953      127
9 John Smoltz       2169     2159       10

Pedro also became the 4th pitcher to have more strikeouts than innings pitched:

                     SO     IP*      DIFF    K/9IP
1 Randy Johnson     3463   2787.1     675    11.18
2 Nolan Ryan        5714   5386.0     328     9.55
3 Pedro Martinez    2003   1714.2     288    10.51
4 Sandy Koufax      2396   2324.1      71     9.28
* - rounded innings up

Milestone Strikeouts

#1 -- Tim Costo (Cin), September 24, 1992
#500 -- Brian Johnson (SD), May 17, 1996
#1000 -- Dan Wilson (Sea), April 11, 1998
#1500 -- Tyler Houston (Cle), September 15, 1999
#2000 -- Michael Tucker (KC), April 19, 2001

Day Baseball
Joe Sheehan, Baseball Prospectus

(By the way, are we allowed to point out that Mike Sweeney didn't come close to hustling on the play, costing himself a base? If Barry Bonds--or another player the media doesn't like--had done what Sweeney did, the play would be all over the news. Sweeney, of course, is the nice-guy-who-stayed-in-a-small-market, so he gets the kid-glove treatment.)

Vizquel in book: 'I don't care what Albert thinks'
espn.com

Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel did not invite former teammate Albert Belle to lunch Wednesday to celebrate the release of his autobiography, "Omar! My Life On And Off The Field." Smart move. Belle, debilitating hip injury and all, might have popped his cork, so to speak. ... "The problem, of course, was that all of Albert's bats were corked."

Twins attorneys turn over 21,000 documents, all marked 'confidential'
Randy Furst, Minnesota Star Tribune

Twins attorneys turned over almost 22,000 documents Wednesday to attorneys for the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, who were surprised to find almost all of them labeled confidential. ... Attorneys for the commission, the Twins and Major League Baseball reached an agreement that was signed by Judge Harry Crump this week that allows documents in the commission's lawsuit to be labeled confidential and to not be publicly disclosed. ... [A] Twins attorney acknowledged that about 95 percent of the documents turned over were so labeled.

Rangers to Use Two Starting Pitchers Each Game
Jeff Spelman, teamonebaseball.com

The Rangers have rolled out a very interesting new approach to pitcher development this year with their two Single-A teams. They are going with “tandem starters.” Simply put, two “starters” per game. Here’s how it works. The team’s 12-man pitching staff is divided into four two-man rotations (8 pitchers) plus two set-up guys and two closers. Each starting pitcher is limited to 50-70 pitches. If the game situation dictates pulling the starter during an inning, the reliever comes in. The second “starting” pitcher then begins the next inning. ... If you want to follow the "tandem starters" look for the Savannah Sand Gnats (South Atlantic League) and the Charlotte Rangers (Florida State League).

 

April 24, 2002

Baseball Crank -- 300 Game Winners
Dan McLaughlin, Providence Journal

I was having this discussion with a few different people in recent weeks, and so even though I'm sure I've seen it written up in one form or another in a few other places, I thought I'd pull together this chart and run it here - it's truly astounding, when you consider the growing consensus that the 300 game winner may be nearly extinct. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine both turned 35 last year. Do they have a shot at 300 wins? How do they stack up against past 300 game winners? ...

No more excuses: Some teams are just mismanaged
Ken Rosenthal, The Sporting News

In trying to explain why the Brewers fired manager Davey Lopes after a 3-12 start, general manager Dean Taylor warbled a familiar refrain: the small-market blues. "We are certainly trying to put the best ballclub on the field that we can under the system we're working under," Taylor said at a news conference. "If there is anything that is wrong, it's in my mind, in many ways, an indictment of the economic system of the game. It is difficult to be competitive in this environment."

Funny, the A's and Twins don't have that problem, and both those teams' payrolls are lower than the Brewers'. The Padres also are doing more with less, and the same might be said of the Marlins and the Expos. But far be it from Taylor to concede that his team is mismanaged when "the system" offers such a handy crutch.

 

April 22, 2002

Doubleheader sweep has Sox road show rolling
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

OK, it may be the baseball equivalent of the eighth-grade bully grabbing a fifth-grader's milk money. If this were the schoolyard, the Red Sox might be walking off with the kids' backpacks, too. But after the Sox swept a doubleheader yesterday from the tailspinning Royals, 12-2 and 8-7, it was noteworthy nonetheless that Grady Little's Gang of 25 is off to the best road start (8-0) and second-best overall start (12-4) in franchise history. Only twice before - in 1904 and '46 when they went 13-3 - have the Sox started faster. And history will reflect that each time they ultimately posted the best record in the American League.

Red Sox double up to finish KC sweep
Phil O'Neill, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

The Red Sox are notorious for awesome Aprils, but this 12-4 getaway may wind up as their best ever, while their 8-0 start on the road already is one for the record books, the best ever in franchise history. ... The best previous road start in Boston history was 7-0 by the 1946 team, which also may have been the best team flatout in Sox history. The most April wins by the Sox wins was in 1998 (18-8), while the best winning percentage in April was (.846) 11-2 in 1918.

It's an age old problem for Sox
John Tomase, Eagle-Tribune

Nine Red Sox minor leaguers have aged a total of 18 years and eight months since spring training ... All nine players are Latin American, including three of the team's best pitching prospects. ... Chief among the casualties are Single A right-hander Rene Miniel, Double A righty Anastacio Martinez, and Single A righty Franklin Francisco, Baseball America's 3rd, 9th and 10th rated Red Sox prospects, respectively. Originally listed as 20 years old, Miniel turns 23 on Friday. Martinez aged two years to 23 and Francisco nine months. His real birthday is Sept. 11, 1979. ... Pawtucket first baseman Juan Diaz aged from 26 to 28. ... Also snared: RHP Fabricio Benitez, infielder Daniel Figueroa, LHP Henry Valdez, and RHPs Willy Galvez and Alexander Solano.

'Severely intoxicated' Bradley was sent to hospital
Kaye Spector and Andrea Simakis, Cleveland Plain Dealer 

Emergency medical workers took Indians center fielder Milton Bradley to Lakewood Hospital this week, hauling him out of a restaurant after he refused to leave. "Can I get an officer in here to remove a drunk who's just pitching cookies all over the place?" a Dianna's Deli waitress said in a call to police early Monday.

 

April 21, 2002

That sinking feeling: Pedro adds new pitch
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

When Pedro Martinez dominated the Kansas City Royals for eight scoreless innings Friday night, he did so thanks to the increased deployment of a sinker, which seemed to surprise batters. Martinez generally blows hitters away with elevated four-seam fastballs but he decided to rely heavily on

the sinking, two-seamer on Friday. That pitch, which tends to be slightly slower than the four-seam fastball, was added to a repertoire that already included a deadly changeup, sharp curve, four-seamer and cut fastball, which is a hybrid of the fastball and slider. ... Martinez was particularly effective with the two-seamer and curve on Friday, resulting in only one Kansas City hit and requiring just 94 pitches. He threw 20 first-pitch strikes to 26 batters faced.

Varitek's view of Pedro
Ian Browne, mlb.com

Nobody gets a better view of the quality of pitches Pedro Martinez makes than catcher Jason Vartiek. Like everyone else who saw Martinez's eight-inning, one-hit performance Friday, Varitek was impressed. "He was so comfortable, it made my job easy," Varitek said. "It was a great repertoire of all his pitches. As long as he can wake up every day and get done every day and feel healthy and feel strong, that's all we want. That's going to present us a chance to win, and that's all we can ask for." Varitek thought Martinez was nearly as impressive in his previous start against the Yankees ... "He's just going to keep taking steps. I think the reins came off against New York because he started feeling more comfortable on the mound."

Varitek likes what he sees
Steven Krasner, Providence Journal

The day after Pedro Martinez shut down the Royals on one bloop hit in eight innings, and all was well. Martinez was smiling, and catcher Jason Varitek and Little were encouraged. I don't have any concerns about calling for any pitch now at any time, not like (his first few starts) when maybe the curveball wasn't there," Varitek said.

"He's been making progress," said Little. "He's close to being his real self, if you ask me." Little said the Sox will be careful with Martinez, not altering the rotation just to keep Martinez on his normal rest if off days or rainouts throw a monkey wrench into the schedule. Little also said he wouldn't arrange Pedro's starts just so he can face the Yankees, for instance, nor to start three times against the Yankees, as was worked out for him last season.

Pedro's stats measure up
Garry Brown, Springfield Union-News

With his return to brilliance Friday night, Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez lowered his earned run average to 4.43. Of course, that's much higher than he wants it to be, but if he continues to throw as he did against the Kansas City Royals, he soon should be challenging for the league lead. Until his injury-plagued season of 2001, Pitchin' Pedro specialized in earned run averages well below the norm.

In his three Cy Young Award seasons -- one with Montreal, two with Boston -- he had earned run averages of 1.90, 2.07 and 1.74. The 1.74 was especially significant, because it put Pedro in a league of his own. In winning the American League ERA title in 2000, he finished nearly two full runs below the second-placer, old friend Roger Clemens, who had a 3.70 with the New York Yankees. Furthermore, Martinez's mark was more than three runs better than the league ERA of 4.90.

And another thing ...
Boston Globe

The Norwich Navigators, the Yankees' Double A farm team, are still trying to collect on a $1,500 phone bill from Andy Morales, the Cuban defector now playing with the Red Sox' Double A farm team in Trenton. Most of the calls were to Cuba, according to John Nalbone of the Trenton Times.

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