New York fans—and pitchers—can only hope he's right.
Appreciating Pedro Martinez
It Figures: He's Amazing
Reducing the artistry of Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez's performance this year to a series of numbers is like trying to appreciate shakespeare by parsing his dialogue. Still, with roughly a quarter of the season gone, Martinez, who was 7-1 with an 0.90 ERA through Sunday, is stirring speculation that he'll make a run at some of pitching's most hallowed statistics. After Martinez blew away the orioles with a two-hitter on May 12 (he had 15 strikeouts in the 9-0 complete game), Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said he thought the righthanded Martinez would win 30 gamed this season. Blue lays assistant G.M. Dave Stewart says Martinez can surpass Bob Gibson's 1968 National League single-season ERA record of 1.12.
Though those landmarks are a long way off, it's fun to extrapolate. Here are some other eye-popping numbers from Martinez's phenomenal first quarter.
?Having given up 33 hits and pitched 60? innings in Boston's first 40 games, Martinez was on pace to throw 244 innings and allow 134 hits. The record for fewest hits allowed by a pitcher with more than 200 innings pitched is 129, set by Ed Reulbach of the Cubs in 1906.
?On May 12, Martinez tied Luis Tiant's 32-year-old American League record for strikeouts in consecutive games (32)—and came within five of Nolan Ryan's major league record of 47 punch-outs over three straight games.
? Martinez had jumped out to an 0-and-2 count on 41 batters. Only seven of those hitters put the ball in play, including two who had gotten a hit; 34 had struck out. The numbers were little better for hitters who had worked the count full. Martinez had struck out 15 of the 24 hitters who had gone to 3 and 2 against him, walked five, retired three on putouts in the field and allowed only one hit.
May 30: Marlins at Pirates
A Cy Young showdown...circa 2005? As of Sunday the two teams' rotations looked set for young righties Brad Penny, 21, of Florida and Kris Benson, 25, of Pittsburgh to face off. Both were drafted in 1996—Benson the No. 1 pick, Penny taken in the fifth round by the Diamondbacks. Both are aces-to-be around whom young teams are building. Both throw fastballs in the mid-90s and knee-buckling curves. Penny, after winning three of his first four, had lost five in a row; Benson, after a slow start, had won four of his last five.