Friday, August 13, 2004

Game 113 - Red Sox
Pretty Bird, Pretty Bird (or, In Praise of Petey)

Red Sox 6, Devil Rays 0
Record: 63-50
August Record: 7-4

Statistically, 2004 has been the worst year of Pedro Martinez' career, at least by several measures. After yesterday's complete-game shutout, he's now 13-4 with a 3.72 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and 9.24 K/9 IP. Digest that for a minute. He's putting up numbers that place him solidly in the top 5 if the Cy Young vote was taken today - 2nd in the league in Ks, top 10 in ERA, top 10 in WHIP, tied for 2nd in wins - and the vast majority of Red Sox Nation (present company included) wonders what's wrong with Pedro.

The bar has been set so high for Pedro that even meeting expectations is well nigh impossible. I'm going to look back 20 years from now and marvel at the fact that I got to watch this guy pitch on a semi-regular basis. Every Red Sox fan from Bangor to Bangkok should genuflect in adulation every time the Dominican Diva steps to the mound, and bask in the reflected glow of his indescribable genius. Instead, we elevate marginal scrappers like Lou Merloni to cult icon status. It's as if the light that Pedro gives off is so bright as to obscure his talent from view. We can't look directly at it, or we'd be spoiled for any other player that ever takes the field for the Olde Towne Team.

I hope that I'm not watching the final act of the Pedro Martinez Show in Boston, but even if I am, his current run of brilliance (and 12-2, 2.91 marks against all teams not named the Baltimore Orioles - Jesus, can I hate that team any more?) portends positive things for the next 2 months. And if he winds up somewhere else next season, I'll count myself lucky to have witnessed - up close and personal - the best stretch of pitching in my lifetime. It's really as simple as that - nobody else has even been close to Pedro during his tenure in Boston. Red Sox Nation would do well to remember that more often.

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