SERIES: AL championship series; Yankees lead, 1-0.
Pedro Martinez called the New York Yankees his “daddy” after a loss at Fenway Park on Sept. 24, not knowing that the comment would garner more attention and stir more controversy than just about anything the right-hander has uttered during his brilliant career.
He’ll have a chance to render the phrase virtually meaningless, and more importantly, get the Boston Red Sox even when he takes the mound for Game 2 of the AL championship series at Yankee Stadium.
Martinez suffered a pair of critical defeats to the Yankees in September, both of which damaged Boston’s chances of overtaking first place from New York in the AL East. After a 6-4 setback at Fenway three weeks ago, Martinez admitted that the Yankees had his number.
“What can I say—just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy,” Martinez said after allowing five runs and nine hits over 7 1-3 innings.
“I can’t find a way to beat them at this point. … They’re that good. They’re that hot right now—at least against me. I wish they would disappear and not come back.”
Martinez did not comment before his Game 2 start in the ALDS against Anaheim, and was silent again during Tuesday’s interview session in which the scheduled starters for the next day usually meet with the media.
However, manager Terry Francona wasn’t the least bit concerned with Martinez’s absence from the interview room.
“He’s going to show up on the mound; that’s what I care about,” Francona said. “Whether he talks to you guys or not, I know it probably frustrates you, you can talk to me. I don’t personally care. I want him to pitch really, really well.”
Francona also didn’t put too much stock in what Martinez had to say after his last loss to the Yankees.
“I thought he was a little frustrated that night,” Francona said. “You see so many times players say something after a game or they think something else, or they are half-dressed going somewhere in hurry, they say something that they probably wish ten minutes later they would not have said. I guess I put more credence in his pitching the last ten years than I do one sentence when he was a little frustrated.”
Martinez’s two losses to the Yankees last month dropped his all-time record against the defending AL champions to 10-10 with a 3.24 ERA. In last year’s ALCS, Martinez suffered a Game 3 loss in Boston in a game best remembered for a benches-clearing incident that ended with Martinez hurling then-Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground.
In the memorable seventh game of that series, Martinez carried a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning before wilting as New York rallied to tie the game and win it on Aaron Boone’s walk-off homer against Tim Wakefield in the bottom of the 11th.
The Yankees built an early 8-0 lead on Boston in Game 1 on Tuesday as Mike Mussina pitched 6 1-3 perfect innings and Hideki Matsui drove in five runs. But the Red Sox came back with seven runs, forcing Yankees manager Joe Torre to call on Mariano Rivera for the final four outs.
Rivera was in Panama earlier in the day tending to the funeral of two family members that were electrocuted in a pool at his home. After arriving at Yankee Stadium in the fifth inning, the Yankees’ star closer worked out of a jam in the eighth and kept the Red Sox off the board in the ninth, preserving a 10-7 victory.
“My teammates needed me there,” Rivera said. “When I went to the bullpen in the fifth inning, I was ready.”
New York right-hander Jon Lieber will try to build on a solid performance in his first career postseason start when he opposes Martinez in Game 2. With the Yankees down 1-0 in their ALDS with Minnesota, Lieber allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings in last Wednesday’s 7-6, 12-inning victory.
Lieber hopes to recapture the form he had during a 14-4 home victory over Boston on Sept. 18. Like Mussina, he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before David Ortiz belted a two-out, two-run homer to get the Red Sox on the board.
Ortiz delivered a clutch two-out, two-run double off Tom Gordon in the eighth inning Tuesday, helping Boston cut New York’s deficit to 8-7. But the Red Sox came up short after nearly getting starter Curt Schilling off the hook after the worst outing of his postseason career.
Schilling was pounded for six runs in only three innings, forcing Francona to use six relievers over the next five innings.
“Each game is going to be an emotional roller-coaster,” Torre said.
Game 3 will be Friday night at Fenway Park.
PROJECTED LINEUPS: Red Sox - CF Johnny Damon (.304, 20 HRs, 94 RBIs, 123 runs, 19 SBs), 2B Mark Bellhorn (.264, 17, 82, 177 Ks), LF Manny Ramirez (.308, 43, 130), DH Ortiz (.301, 41, 139), 1B Kevin Millar (.297, 18, 74), RF Trot Nixon (.315, 6, 23), C Jason Varitek (.296, 18, 73), SS Orlando Cabrera (.294, 6, 31), 3B Bill Mueller (.283, 12, 57). Yankees - SS Derek Jeter (.292, 23 HRs, 78 RBIs, 23 SBs), 3B Alex Rodriguez (.286, 36, 106, 28 SBs), RF Gary Sheffield (.290, 36, 121, 117 runs), LF Matsui (.298, 31, 108), CF Bernie Williams (.262, 22, 70), C Jorge Posada (.272, 21, 81), 1B John Olerud (.259, 9, 48), 2B Miguel Cairo (.292, 6, 42), DH Kenny Lofton (.275, 3, 18).
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER: Martinez (1-0, 3.86 ERA). Martinez ended a career-high four-start losing streak last Wednesday at Anaheim, pitching the Red Sox to an 8-3 victory in Game 2 of the ALDS. Martinez allowed three runs and six hits over seven solid innings, striking out six and walking two. It was his ninth win in 16 career postseason decisions. At Yankee Stadium this year, Martinez was 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts.
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER: Lieber (0-0, 4.05 ERA). Lieber went 5-0 in six September starts overall, and flourished at Yankee Stadium this year, going 11-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 15 outings. For his career against Boston, Lieber is 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts.
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Red Sox, 11-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - RHP Schilling had been 6-0 in nine postseason starts since 1993, allowing two runs or fewer in each of those outings. The three-inning outing was his first since June 18, 2001 with Arizona. … C Varitek set a Red Sox record with his eighth career postseason homer in Game 1. … OF Damon struck out four times in Game 1. Yankees - OF Matsui tied an ALCS record with his five RBIs. He is 3-for-22 (.136) career against RHP Martinez. … RHP Rivera has converted a record 31 of 34 postseason save chances. … New York had lost four straight postseason series openers before taking Game 1.
POSTSEASON ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 2-1 on the road. Yankees - 2-1 at home.