Yes, Yankees fans, tonight is the night that Public Enemy #1 returns to the Bronx as a shell of his former self. Let’s hear from the man himself:
I don’t know if you realize this, but because of you guys in some ways, I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say that. I mean, I have been a big fan of baseball for a long time, since I was a kid. My first ball I ever got from a Big League player I actually got to purchase in Dodger Stadium in a silent auction, was Reggie Jackson. I was actually a big fan of the Yankees, too.
For some reason with all the hype and different players that have passed by, maybe because I played for the Red Sox is probably why you guys made it such a big deal every time I came in, but you know, I have a good bond with the people. After playing in New York, I went to realize something: New York fans are very passionate and very aggressive. But after it all, after you take your uniform off and you deal with the people, they’re real human beings. It’s all just being fans.
I have all the respect in the world for the way they enjoy being fans. Sometimes they might be giving you the middle finger, just like they will be cursing you and telling you what color underwear you’re wearing. All those things you can hear when you’re a fan. But at the end of the day, they’re just great fans that want to see the team win. I don’t have any problem with that.
Pedro, do not flatter yourself. You are certainly not the most influential player to ever play in Yankee Stadium, although you are certainly one of the most despised. You acted like a thug on the mound as a Red Sox player, throwing at opposing batters indiscriminately. Pandering to the fans at this point is not going to win you any reverence from the Yankee faithful.
Getting past the fact that the man is probably tied with Curt Schilling on my list of least favorite players, let us take a look at what we might expect, performance-wise, in Game 2. Pedro, even at his peak, always seemed to have a bit of trouble with the Yankees. Although his numbers look excellent and are only slightly worse than his career numbers (from IIATMS),
.211 batting average against
17 HBP, his highest against any opponent,
the Yankees always seemed to have the ability to wait Pedro out and find a way to win the game, as evidenced by his 11 losses and 10 no decisions against them. However, these numbers are barely relevant, as Pedro has diminished significantly since his halcyon days with the Red Sox. He is currently a fastball-changeup pitcher, with his breaking pitches being nothing more than show-me type pitches that he is unlikely to use frequently. For a more in-depth look at Pedro’s stuff, check out this Fangraphs article.
Additionally, his solid performances as a Phillie have been bolstered by good luck rather than good stuff. As IIATMS notes:
Pedro Martinez had an alarmingly high LD% in his limited time this season, without an accompanying disastrous BABIP. He also had a tremendous LOB%. He’s probably not done as a pitcher yet, as evidenced by his K/BB, but he shouldn’t be in the rotation in the World Series.
In laymen’s terms, Pedro is giving up a lot of hard hit balls, but they have not found holes as of yet. He is also stranding a ton of runners, something that really should not be happening considering that he is giving up plenty of solid contact. This suggests that he has not really pitched all that well, and that a strong lineup like that of the Yankees may be able to exploit his average stuff.
Get it done, Yankees. It is time Pedey had his comeuppance.
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