Pedro Martinez Circa 2000

August 29th, 8 Rays ejected, 2 skirmishes, 4 hit batters.

This will be the last in the Pedro series for now. I have to pack and go home tomorrow after exams, and then, we’re headed to Cincinnati for a Reds-Cardinals game. Should be fun, but that means that I can’t get up anything really tomorrow. Just in case you were wondering, 2002 and 2003 were also outstanding seasons (I don’t include 2001 because he only pitched in 18 games, but nonetheless, he was outstanding then as well) for Pedro. But 2000 was a special season, there are some debates as to whether 1999 or 2000 were the better season, but even considering he won 5 fewer games, 2000 has to be Pedro’s masterpiece.

Following up his fantastic 1999 season, Pedro came back and was both dominating and consistent. Over the course of the next 6 months, he would have two starts in which he gave up more than 3 runs, not just earned runs. It all began with a jolt on Opening Day. Facing the Seattle Mariners, whom he owned the previous season, Pedro decided to be efficient and deadly. He went 7 innings giving up 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11 in 108 pitches. Derek Lowe came up with a two-inning save, and Pedro was off and running. Anaheim was his next victim as he struck out 12 in 7.1 IP while giving up one run, which Lowe (who went 1.2 IP this time) actually gave up. Three more solid 7 inning starts, and Pedro was 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA.

May was a bit of a hard-luck month, but it was also Pedro’s finest. It began on a sour note on May 6th with a loss against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but the loss wasn’t Pedro’s fault. He gunned down 17 hitters making Greg Vaughan, Kevin Stocker, and Vinny Castilla cry for their mothers, but a Vaughan single in the 8th gave the Devil Rays the only run they needed as Steve Trachsel outmatched Martinez, going 9 for the 1-0 shutout. Martinez faced off against Sidney Ponson the next game, but the Orioles had no chance as Pedro struck out 15 more and gave up only two hits. The Red Sox gave Pedro 9 to work with and he had his 6-1 record. On May 23rd, Toronto gave Pedro another tough loss. He wasn’t as sharp giving up 7 hits and 3 walks for 3 runs, but the Red Sox only mustered 2 off a young Chris Carpenter. But by the end of May, Pedro was a cool 8-2 with a 1.05 ERA after his 0.86 ERA month.

June was a bit more frustrating. The Indians saw a tough Pedro as Martinez threw 8 1-hit innings and struck out 10, but the Yankees gave the Red Sox two tough losses in his following starts as the offense sputtered scoring only 1 run total. Pedro’s worst start of the season followed as he matched up again with the Blue Jays. This time, the Blue Jays rapped 5 runs off Martinez as Shannon Stewart, Brad Fullmer, and Tony Bautista hit home runs. Pedro escaped the loss as his offense came back to get five, but the Red Sox ultimately lost the game. Pedro was 9-3, but his ERA had climbed to 1.44 (poor guy).

Pedro got mad again in July. After not pitching in the All-Star Game due to an injury, he came back strong. He would only allow 4 runs the entre month (4 starts) and struck out at least 10 in each start. July 23rd saw the White Sox make a futile attempt. Martinez went off, striking out 15 in a complete-game 6-hit shutout. The offense only gave him one, but he didn’t need anymore, dispatching the 61-36 White Sox. Add three more wins and a 1.06 ERA for the month, and Pedro was on his way to another Cy Young Award.

August was a long month as he had to go out for six starts. He won 3 more, but his only loss was another toughy. He went 8 innings against the Angels, but Ramon Ortiz outdueled him, going 9 and only giving up 2 to Martinez’s 3. Again, the offense let him down, but they covered for him later in the month. Facing the Royals, Martinez got off to a rough start. The Royals grabbed four singles and two doubles for five runs, but after that, they got one more run on a Mike Sweeney homer. The Red Sox fought back and won the game in the 10th. Surviving his toughest month, Martinez was 15-4 with a 1.68 ERA.

In three of his final five starts, Pedro gave up one run or fewer, but he gave up three each in two others. The odd thing is that Pedro only gave up 4 hits in each of those starts and only walked 3 total. Five of those came on homers (a three-run shot for Scott Brosius and a two-run shot for David Segui.

By the end of it, Pedro had his 3rd Cy Young and 2nd unanimous. And why not? He was 18-6, but that wasn’t the impressive part. He grabbed a nifty 1.74 ERA which was the best since 1978 when Ron Guidry also had a 1.74 ERA. His 8.88 K/BB ratio was the best of his career and just remarkable anyway. Oh, and he had a 0.737 WHIP. That’s amazing. In fact, it broke a major-league record held by Walter Johnson who had a 0.780 WHIP in his amazing 1913 season. What about the slash stats against him? A .167/.213/.259 line ain’t bad. Ain’t bad at all. The batting average and on-base percentage set major-league records as well. He decreased his walks to 1.3 BB/9, but his strikeouts did go down to 11.8 K/9. Just awful. 1999 was impressive, but 2000 was a notch above.

But let’s take a look at FanGraphs. Pedro’s 1999 FIP was actually much, much better than his 2000 season. He had a startling 1.39 FIP in 1999 with only a 2.17 FIP (I continually find it ridiculous how good he was) in 2000. What accounts for the difference? Well, his BABIP shrunk from .343 (how the hell did he pitch that well with a .343 BABIP?) to .253. He stranded an amazing 86.8% of baserunners. Unfortunately, there are no win values for 1999 and 2000, but it seems that Pedro was actually a better pitcher in 1999, and he took advantage of some really good luck in 2000 while still being one heckuva pitcher. Maybe he was better in 1999. What do you think?

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2 Responses to “Pedro Martinez Circa 2000”

  1. dadlak Says:

    Nice article and website. I bookmarked your site. Keep up the good work!

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Thanks for the kind words. Always happy to have new readers.

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