SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives Pedro Martinez

We're on record as considering Pedro Martinez's 2000 season as perhaps the finest pitching performance of all time. Consider: In the midst of the steroid era, in the AL East, in a hitter's park, Martinez put up a 1.74 earned run average. That's good for a 285 ERA+, meaning he was almost three times as good as the league-average ERA. Pretty crazy, right?

It's early yet, but Ubaldo Jimenez might have a chance to better that mark. Jimenez gave up two runs Sunday, which means his ERA soared to a magisterial 0.93. That's good for an ERA+ of 484, which means he's almost five times better than the league average. All this in Coors Field in a division that has a number of good hitters. (Adrian Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval can put a pretty quick dent in a pitcher's ERA, don't you think?) Ubaldo (we think we can refer to him by his first name, considering the last Ubaldo in the majors was Ubaldo Heredia in 1987) throws a 100 mph fastball that seems to move about three feet, which would make him a rather good pitcher if that were the only pitch he had. Unfortunately for National League hitters, he has about five more.

Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA, achieved during the so-called "Year of the Pitcher" (1968, when only six players hit better than .300), is the modern record low for a starter. Could Ubaldo challenge that mark? He certainly has a head start.

Marty (Stratford, CT)

Did analysts see Ubaldo Jimenez's mad skills as he came through the minor league system, or has this year come as a surprise to you guys?

Jayson Stark
Jayson Stark

There's been a buzz about Jimenez for years. What's propelled him to this level this year is that he's finally commanding his whole repertoire, and especially his fastball. Lots of fun Ubaldo talk in this week's Rumblings and Grumblings, by the way. Full transcript

Jack (NY)

Halladay vs. Jimenez? Halladay has a much lower xFIP.

Rob Neyer
Rob Neyer

I still believe Halladay is the best pitcher in the National League. But there's certainly an argument here. Full transcript

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Not to suggest Pedro Martinez is getting up there in years, but he's only five degrees of teammate separation from Babe Ruth (John Candelaria to Willie Stargell to Johnny Logan to Ray Mueller to the Bambino). No wonder he feels like he had some influence in Ruth's old office -- and presumably the new one where he starts Game 2 of the World Series.

When Martinez was still looking for a team to give him the ball back in July, 57 percent of SportsNation contended he was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Interestingly, given all the current clamor about toppling Don Zimmer and serving as the Big Apple's favorite villain, New York and New Jersey were the only states outside the heart of Red Sox Nation to vote the other way (and we can't imagine that was all Mets fans rushing to the defense of a guy who went 32-23 in four so-so seasons with their team).

steve (philly)

What are the chances pedro will ... come out with a win?

Buster Olney
Gary Horton

I just don't think Pedro is a good match for the Yankees' lineup -- but then again, I thought he shouldn't have started Game 2 against the Dodgers, and he went out and threw great. We'll see if the Yankees can corner him, in the ball-strike count, more effectively than the Dodgers were able to. Full transcript.

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Pedro Martinez might not have been in the Cy Young form that helped him dominate the game a decade ago, but he was good enough to get the win in his first start for the Phillies on Wednesday. It was the fan harkening back to famous moments in beverage tossing circa 2004 that had us shaking our heads at how far we haven't come as a species.

As Shane Victorino settled under a long fly ball in the fifth inning, a beer lobbed from the bleachers arrived to complicate matters. He made the catch (the ball, not the beer), and despite his memorable sprint from center field after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes from afar earlier this week, he refrained from reacting to this dousing in the manner Ron Artest made famous in 2004.

A fan was ejected, albeit apparently not the right one, but should Cubs fans in the bleachers have turned on (or turned in) one of their own? Say what you want about the excesses of Red Sox Nation, but at least they throw their concessions at each other.

wylies99

Anyone who thinks that the Cubs fan who threw the beer is a "cool dude" and that Philly players "deserve trouble because you hate Philly fans" is making a big mistake. Bad fan behavior that impacts other fans or players is wrong and the LOSERS who do it should face maximum jail time and whatever else can happen including a lifetime ban from the stadium. Some of you just don't get it- bad fan behavior is not just a "Philly" problem- it's a problem EVERYWHERE.

-- wylies99
andykovatch

Pedro was okay. Honestly, about what I expected. I thought he'd go six and give up three runs, so I wasn't too far off. What I was impressed with most was his control, his breaking ball and the fact that the gun popped out a couple 93's in his last inning.

-- andykovatch

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At least if Pedro Martinez struggles in his initial starts with the Phillies, he's playing for a fan base famous for its patience and empathy. Yes, this should end well.

There was a time when SportsNation would have taken Martinez over just about any pitcher who ever lived. Asked to pick a starter for an all-time AL All-Star team earlier this season, voters picked Martinez of 2000 vintage ahead of the best of Roger Clemens, Lefty Grove, Jim Palmer and Johan Santana. Of course, there was also a time when a majority of people thought Tracy McGrady was a better leader than Kobe Bryant.

As Martinez makes his Phillies debut against the Cubs Wednesday night, he can't even earn enough popular support to merit his spot in the rotation. And considering SportsNation already thinks he's a borderline, at best, first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate, the next few weeks could make those memories of his best years fade away.

uwhusky2

Moyer's ERA and winning percentage are much better in the last month or so. In fact, during July, when the Phillies turned it around, Moyer was 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA. He also won 5 straight starts during June and July. I think any team would want that.

-- UWhusky2
Carol Vessey

Nobody really knows whether Pedro will be effective. Smoltz and Glavine were both effective in their minor league outings but were unable to make it back in the bigs. Give Pedro a few starts and if he doesn't perform no harm done. Moyer has done nothing this year so there is little to be lost by replacing him in the rotation. If Pedro pitches well keep running him out there, if not Moyer is ready to step back in.

-- Carol Vessey
nao888

Well [Moyer] has been an starting pitcher for the last 25 years, so of coarse he is gonna feel negative about being put in the pen, the guy deserves better respect after what he did for them last year. We still love you Jamie here in seattle and we hope you come back next year strong as before.

-- nao888

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In a past life, Pedro Martinez was perhaps the most dominant pitcher to have ever played the game. He struck out double-digit batters on a regular basis. He made exceptional hitters look confused and silly. The numbers he put up (in the middle of the so-called "Steroid Era," no less) seem like statistical outliers when compared to his peers.

It's a little sad, then, to see a good outing by Pedro in Double-A praised as indicative that he "still has it." For sure, he may well indeed still be able to get major league batters out -- after all, Jamie Moyer is still doing it -- but there's also the danger of Pedro appearing as an old Willie Mays with the Mets, unable to run down fly balls and letting grounders skip through his legs. That being said, Pedro could be a force out of the bullpen, but it still could be a sad end to one of baseball's greatest pitching careers.

Unfortunately, SportsNation isn't confident that Pedro has anything left in the tank. We'll soon see if he'll be able to prove his doubters wrong.
althemarinerfan

Hooray. Thank you Ruben. Sad to say this about Moyer, but he should be the one to go to the pen.

-- althemarinerfan
andrewc2189

So how about we keep Moyer to make every start against the Marlins... 6 man rotation? Look, it may keep from hurting feelings, but that takes starts away from the other 4 Phillie pitchers and that just doesn't make sense.

-- andrewc2189

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