Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Games 157 & 158 - Red Sox
That's Why He's Making ESPN Dollars

Red Sox 10, Devil Rays 8 (11)
Devil Rays 6, Red Sox 3 (in progress)

Had to break into my regularly scheduled aimless post-children's bedtime web surfing to make a quick comment. I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to find the words to describe my concerns about Pedro Martinez (tonight's line, 5 IP, 102 pitches, 10 hits, 6 earned runs - blecch). Turns out I don't need to worry about it, because Bill Simmons did it for me.

In his last 4 starts, Pedro's 0-3 (probably 0-4, unless the Sox bail him out) with 20 earned runs, 30 hits allowed, and 11 walks in 23 1/3 innings (a tidy 7.72 ERA). I cannot remember a similarly mediocre 4-game stretch in Pedro's Boston career. It's as if he's shrinking in front of our eyes, and it's not just his physical 'stuff' - Pedro's vaunted duende, his malevolent, arrogant, dominating mound presence has simply wandered off over the course of this season, leaving an obviously confused, very mortal pitcher to fill the void. You see it in his performance, and you hear it in his concession to the Yankees after last weekend's effort.

The impact of the loss of Pedro's mojo is immense. Simply stated, the Sox cannot win the World Series without Pedro. Hell, there's a good chance they can't get out of the ALDS with the current guy that's wearing number 45. Schilling's the ace now, the streak-stopping iron-willed hardass. Pedro just needs to be a 7-inning, 3-run kind of pitcher - the sort of guy he flossed with as recently as 2 years ago - that's all. And I'm really, really concerned that even that sort of effort's too much to ask.

At least Derek Lowe's rounding into shape.


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