Veteran Pedro Martinez Wins Duel with Young Tim Lincecum

September 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Pedro Martinez appeared in 65 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1993, 63 coming in relief. He was brilliant, compiling ten wins, and a 2.52 ERA, while allowing an astonishingly low 76 hits in 107 innings.

He had started in the minor leagues, and was their top prospect entering the season. But, after his remarkable rookie season, there were varying opinions within the Dodgers front office regarding his long term durability and whether he would be best suited to start or continue to relieve.

Since they didn’t know how to use their most talented player, Los Angeles decided to give him up for some loose change.


Yes, then-General Manager Fred Claire pulled the trigger on the infamous 1993 deal that sent Martinez to the Montreal Expos for second baseman Delino DeShields .

It seemed like a great deal for both teams at the time.

DeShields, an incredibly gifted athlete, hit for average and had some power, but his greatest attribute was his speed. He averaged 47 stolen bases over his first four seasons in the majors, all spent with the Expos.

He was 24 at the time of the trade and had come off a stellar season in which he stole 43 bases, had only 64 strikeouts in 481 at-bats (an incredible ratio), and batted .295 with an impressive .389 on-base percentage.

So, Claire wasn’t completely out of his mind, but it wasn’t long before he felt some regret.

DeShields’ first season with the Dodgers was a strike-shortened one, he played in 89 of the teams 114 games, but his batting average dropped 45 points from his 1993 campaign and, though his stolen base numbers were still there, he wasn’t the Delino DeShields the Dodgers traded for.

He played only two more seasons in L.A., and, thanks to a paltry .226 batting average in his final year with the team, was proclaimed a bust.

While DeShields floundered, Pedro flourished in Montreal.

He won 38 games in his first three seasons, and then in his fourth, at the age of 25, he won 17 games. That year, he had 13 complete games, four shutouts, and struck out 305 batters while allowing just 156 hits in 241 1/3 innings.

Then, with the small-market Expos unable to sign him to an extension, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox before he could enter free-agency.

Pedro picked up in Boston where he left off in Montreal, winning 19 games and posting a 2.90 ERA. The following season was one of the best ever by any player.

He took home the Cy Young award with 23 wins and four losses, and struck out one hundred more batters (313) than innings pitched (213), while relinquishing just nine home-runs.

He won the Cy Young the following year by winning 18 games and boasting a 1.74 ERA, then after an injury-shortened 2001 season, won 20 games in 2002.

He was arguably the best pitcher of his generation, while Delino, whose career ended in 2002, was nothing but a .230 hitter with speed. The trade was dubbed the worst in Dodgers history, and rightfully so.

Pedro won 30 games over the next two seasons and helped the Red Sox win their first World Series championship in 2004, ending the franchise’s 86-year drought. He left Boston after that season, the first season in which he recorded an ERA in the threes or above since 1996.

He signed a four-year contract with the New York Mets and, after an outstanding first season, was only a shade of his former self. He won only 17 games over the next three seasons, and, at the age of 37, was without a job.

That was until the Philadelphia Phillies called and wanted to schedule a workout. Pedro impressed the Phillies, and was signed to a one-year contract on July 14.

He made a few starts in the minor leagues before being added to the roster in early August, and then won his debut. He pitched well in his next three outings, entering his matchup with the San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum on a high.


Tim, 25, reminds me of a young Pedro. His windup is entirely different from Pedro’s, and everyone else’s for that matter, but he has a similar, lanky build, has similar stuff—a 95-97 mile per hour fastball and a devastating curveball and slider—and strikes out the opposition at an alarming rate.

He has a Cy Young award already under his belt (that came last season, when he went 18-5 with a 2.27 ERA; he struck out 265 batters in 227 innings, kept home runs to a minimum, and had a well above average hits-per-nine-innings ratio of 7.2. Sound like anyone?).

It was vintage Pedro versus the usual Tim, and I expected nothing less. Pedro, with two wins this season, matched Tim, who entered the contest with thirteen, inning for inning. Pedro allowed a home-run to Eugenio Velez to begin the game and wouldn’t give up another.

He struck out two hitters in that opening inning, two more in the second, and three in the third. His fastball, clocked at 88 miles an hour, ten miles per hour lower than in his prime, had the same movement, and that’s what mattered.

His curveball had lost a bit of his bite, as had his slider, but the offensively-challenged Giants were still baffled.

The Phillies were similarly baffled by Tim. He struck out eleven over his seven innings, while Pedro whiffed nine in his seven. Lincecum had the lone walk between the two. It was masterful.

Lincecum came up on the losing end, as Philadelphia won 2-1, but even though the Giants need every win they can get, he had to enjoy matching wits with Pedro, twelve years his senior.

Pedro turned back the clock to the glory days of the late 1990s, while Tim was just his usual self. Similar in so many ways, Pedro, the best pitcher of his generation, and Tim, arguably the best of his, dueled like few have this season.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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