Friday, May 24, 2013

Red Sox 1-36: 23 is for…

23 Runs scored in game 4 of the 1999 ALDS

The Power of Pedro.

You all remember the scenario. In 1999, Pedro Martinez was the best pitcher the world had ever seen. A five game series in which Pedro got to pitch twice was almost unfair. All the Sox needed was to win one of the other three games to take the series. All the better, in this case, was that the Indians had their own ace in Bartolo Colon. So, not only would the Sox be able to win Pedro’s two starts, they would, by default, beat Colon twice since he would match up against Pedro. It was almost too easy. But, then things went wacky. Pedro got hurt in game one, and the Sox ended up losing the game. And game two. They won game three, leaving them down 2-1 in the series. Pedro was a huge question mark. Nobody was even sure if he would pitch in the series. If he did, how effective would he be? It wasn’t looking good. It also meant that Mike Hargrove had a decision to make. Who to pitch in Game four.

Bartolo Colon wasn’t scheduled to pitch until game five. But, what if Pedro was Pedro again by then? It would be a waste of Colon. What about pitching Colon on short rest, and removing Pedro from the equation?

That’s what Cleveland decided to do.

Think about that. Hargrove didn’t trust his ace to win a game at home against (at best) a wounded Martinez. He didn’t want any part of game five if Pedro was able to sniff the mound.

It’s not like Colon was the Cleveland ace by default. He was a top pitcher. In any other match-up, he’d probably be favored. But, Pedro was that scary. Hargrove couldn’t risk it. He made Colon pitch on the road, on short rest.

Colon didn’t go two innings. The Red Sox scored 23 runs.

As it turned out, Pedro wasn’t able to start game five. While he certainly pitched true to form once he got in there, he didn’t take the mound until the fourth inning. By then, the Indians had scored eight runs. Would a rested Bartolo Colon have been able to hold the Sox to less than eight? He had certainly done it in game one. But, he didn’t get the chance.

If any other pitcher in baseball was scheduled to pitch game five for the Sox, I bet Hargrove holds his ace. Not with a wounded Pedro though. He was forced to roll the dice.

And the Red Sox scored 23 runs.

23 is for the 23 runs the Sox scored in game four of the 1999 ALDS

1 comment:

  1. My absolute favorite of all the games I've ever been to at Fenway! :)

    What made it so special for me, aside from the 23 runs, of course, was the sheer improbability of my even being there. I lived in Atlanta at the time, but my brother in NH was able to get tickets. I had used up all my vacation days for the year and had to cash in my Thanksgiving holidays to come. I flew up the morning before the game... before Game 3 took place. When I boarded the plane they were down 0-2 in the series, and without a win in Game 3 I wouldn't even get to go to Game 4 and the whole trip would have been for nothing.

    We sat in Section 1 and by the end of the game, I literally had bruises on both my knees from banging them on the seat in front of me every time I jumped up to cheer.


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