What a big game this was. The Red Sox had made the playoffs in 1998 for the fist time in a few years, and were hoping to do it again in 1999. The Rangers were a good team those years, making a habit of getting swept by the Yankees in the playoffs. The Red Sox were in for a dogfight on this day.
Oh wait. I see that Pedro Martinez is listed as the starting pitcher.
Pedro was his usual dominating self, even against a good team. The Rangers line-up that day featured Ivan Rodriguez (who would end up stealing the 1999 MVP award), Juan Gonzalez (a two-time MVP including the previous season), and Rafael Palmiero. How did Martinez do against that power-packed group? Take a look for yourself. Eight innings, six hits, no walks, one run, ten strikeouts.
Pedro was actually responsible for a quirk in my scoring, which unfortunately shows up on the Rangers side of the card. Rueben Mateo was at bat in the top of the second. With two strikes, Mateo swung at an inside pitch and managed a dribbler back to Pedro. Martinez calmly threw the ball to first to end the inning. Another example of a player being overmatched by Pedro. But, then Mateo didn’t take the field in the bottom of the second. Weird. He got hurt grounding out? A few innings later, I notice that the people hanging K’s around the park seem to have different numbers. The people in the bleachers had one less K for Pedro than the people in the luxury boxes did. (Yup. Hanging K’s in the luxury Box. It was Pedro.) Hmm. The people with access to TVs have an extra K. It turns out that Mateo didn’t ground out. He was so far ahead of the Martinez pitch (gotta love the change-up) that the way inside pitch actually missed the bat and drilled him right in the chest. It bounced out to Pedro, who threw it to first. But, since Mateo was swinging at the pitch he went down on strikes. That’s why he left the game.
What about the Red Sox card? Looks like a nice effort. Five runs were more than enough with Pedro on the mound.
The hero for the day? I’m going to the bottom of the order, and Trot Nixon. Three for four, scoring two runs and driving in two more. He accounted for four of the five Sox runs. Not a bad day.
The goat? Three starters went hitless on the day. I’m going to give the horns to Mike Stanley. He did draw a walk, but he also struck out twice. A good case could be made for Damon Buford, but he at least scored a run.
But, the goat didn’t hurt. The Sox had all they needed. Pedro kept the collection of MVP’s in check, as he always did. He was in the middle of one of the best seasons a pitcher has ever had. We were just enjoying every minute of it.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.