Martinez doesn't talk on Tuesday

Updated: October 13, 2004, 4:08 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- For the Red Sox to get past the Yankees, Pedro Martinez almost certainly will have to find a way to master the team he calls "daddy."

Pedro Martinez
Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox
30 10 11 55 256 3.44
The three-time Cy Young Award winner will get another chance Wednesday night in Game 2 of the AL championship series. Jon Lieber will start for the Yankees, who have confounded Martinez more than any other team.

Martinez didn't talk to reporters Tuesday, as usual the day before starts, but teammate Kevin Millar knows how the star Red Sox pitcher can quickly make people forget about his "daddy" remark.

"There's only one way to do it," Millar said. "He goes out and wins the game and throws the way he's capable."

The daddy quote dates back to Sept. 26 when, in a move similar to Game 7 of last season's ALCS, Martinez persuaded manager Terry Francona to let him stay in the game and then proceeded to blow an eighth-inning lead.

"Call the Yankees my daddy," he said afterward. "I can't find a way to beat them at this point."

It's been a rough season for Martinez, who was bumped aside by Curt Schilling as Boston's No. 1 starter despite leading the AL in ERA in four of the last six years.

"This guy, he's a competitor," Millar said. "He'll pitch tomorrow and we're just very lucky and very fortunate that we have, two days, aces going, and I think that's what makes us so tough."

Martinez went 16-9, his most losses since dropping 10 in 1995 for Montreal, and he had the highest ERA (3.90) of his 13-year career.

In September, Martinez pitched 13 scoreless innings in his first two outings then gave up 20 earned runs in 23 1-3 innings (7.72 ERA) while losing four straight starts -- two to the Yankees.

Martinez rebounded against Anaheim in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs, allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings for the win. Red Sox manager Terry Francona attributed Martinez's success to better pitch location.

"When he's throwing that cutter on the outside to run that fastball in and staying out of the middle of the plate, he's tough to beat," Francona said.

Against the Yankees, Martinez is 10-10 with a 3.24 ERA for his career, plus 1-1 in three postseason starts. In the 1999 ALCS, he pitched two-hit ball over seven innings of the Red Sox's only win of the series.

But last season, Martinez sparked a fight in Game 3 -- a loss -- that ended with him pushing a charging Don Zimmer to the ground. And in Game 7, a tiring Martinez persuaded manager Grady Little to leave him in during the eighth inning and squandered a 5-2 lead. The Red Sox went on to lose on Aaron Boone's 11th-inning homer.

This season, Martinez beat a struggling Yankees squad in April, but with a chance to pull Boston to 1½ games of first place in the AL East on Sept. 17, he gave up eight runs in a loss in New York.

Then on Sept. 26, in a move similar to Game 7 of last season's ALCS, he persuaded Francona to let him stay in the game and blew an eighth-inning lead.

"Call the Yankees my daddy," he said afterward. "I can't find a way to beat them at this point."

Yankees manager Joe Torre isn't so sure.

"I still see Pedro out here dominating our ballclub in this ballpark," Torre said. "He's certainly capable. You don't feel when you go into a game against him that he's easy pickings. I think the 'daddy' comment was based on emotion."

Martinez is a mercurial personality, sometimes clowning around with the media and teammates in the clubhouse, and being curt and withdrawn at other times.

He is in the last year of a seven-year contract that is paying him $17.5 million this season, a high for pitchers. He declared in early May that he would test free agency because the Red Sox unfairly raised questions about his right shoulder to bring down his salary or threaten his chances of signing with another team.

And then there's the "daddy" line.

"I guess I put more credence in his pitching the last 10 years," Francona said, "than I do one sentence when he was a little frustrated."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press