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Pedro takes it in stride

BOSTON -- So what does it feel like to hear a stadium crammed with Yankees fans at full roar all chanting "Who's Your Daddy?" over and over and over and over and over?

"It actually made me feel really, really good," Pedro Martinez said after his team's 3-1 loss in Game 2. "I actually realized that I was somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people, plus you guys [reporters], plus the whole world watching a guy that if you reverse time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to actually pay for a bus. And today I was the center of the attention of the whole city of New York.

"I thank God for that and you know what? I don't regret one bit what they do out there. I respect them and I actually kind of like it because I don't like to brag about myself, I don't like to talk about myself, but they made me feel important."

Now, how's that for putting a positive spin on something? Pedro may not get another crack at the Yankees this postseason but either the Republicans or the Democrats might want to hire him.

The Red Sox are 7-18 in Pedro's starts against the Yankees since the start of the 2000 season and after his Sept. 24 loss to New York, he told reporters "the Yankees are my Daddy," a phrase that immediately gave street vendors something else to put on their t-shirts besides the old "I (Heart) New York" slogan. Vendors hawked "Who's Your Daddy?" t-shirts by the hundreds outside Yankee Stadium while inside, the fans began chanting the same phrase even before Pedro reached the mound for yet another of his always highly anticipated starts against New York.

Pedro's starts against the Yankees are always a little special, always a little dramatic. He whipped Roger Clemens during the 1999 playoffs. Last year in the playoffs he nearly started a riot with a beanball and wound up tangling with 72-year-old Don Zimmer. In Game 7 he surrendered a 5-2 lead when Grady Little obviously left him in too long, a move that led to the manager's firing.

With Curt Schilling having lost Game 1 and with his injured ankle making his status questionable for the rest of the series, Pedro needed a vintage performance. Instead, he was behind 1-0 before retiring a single batter. He walked Derek Jeter on four pitches to lead off the game, grazed Alex Rodriguez with a pitch and allowed a run-scoring single to Gary Sheffield.

He wasn't pitching that poorly, though. He was throwing fastballs in the mid-90s (and occasionally faster) but was just missing the strike zone.

"It's not like he was all over the place," catcher Jason Varitek said. "He had a couple borderline pitches that were called balls that would have put him in much different counts."

As important as the run in the first inning was the pitch load. Pedro needed 26 pitches to get out of the first inning and 20 more in the second inning. By the time he was in a groove, he was already nearing his pitch limit and relying on off-speed stuff.

Pedro also has an ERA near 2.00 against the Yankees before the fifth inning and more than 6.00 after, and he struggled again Wednesday, serving up a crushing two-run homer to John Olerud in the sixth inning. In all, he allowed three runs on four hits and walked four in six innings.

"He pitched well," Varitek said. "We didn't do the job on the other end."

"I did whatever possible to keep my team in the fight," Pedro said. "I can't say I'm disappointed, but those are not the results I wanted."

If Schilling is unable to make his next start, Pedro said he would be willing to pitch in Game 5 on short rest.

"I did not feel tired," he said. "I hit my pitch limit, and they know that without knowing what's going to happen to Schill, they are probably going to have to use me on short time and I'm willing to do that. So we're really just not going to push it."

And as for the "Who's Your Daddy?'' chant? Didn't he ever get the least bit tired of hearing it?

"Even if they are going to say, Pedro lost, I had an opportunity to show everybody that I believe in God," he said. "The chanting about 'Who's your Daddy?' -- my biggest Daddy is the one that brought me over from the mango tree to the biggest stage in the world at this moment."

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.