Baseball BeatOctober 15, 2003
The Rocket vs. Pedro: The Sequel
By Rich Lederer

Does it get any better than the game three matchup? Well, I guess it does! How 'bout The Rocket vs. Pedro, game seven?

Roger Clemens vs. Pedro Martinez. The New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox. American League Championship Series. Game seven. Winner goes to the World Series. Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Zoo. The House that Ruth Built. The Curse of the Bambino. Rematch of game three, otherwise known as Beanball in Beantown. The Rocket's final start against his former team. Maybe the last game of his major league career. Two of the ten best pitchers in the history of baseball going head to head once again.

Clemens and Martinez have faced each other five times, including last Sunday's game. The Red Sox have won three and the Yankees have won two. Pedro is 2-1 and Roger is 1-2. Will the Yankees and The Rocket even the score on Thursday?

		Roger Clemens		Pedro Martinez

Height 6'4" 5'11"
Weight 235 180
Birthdate 8/4/1962 10/25/1971
Throws Right Right
2003 17-9, 3.91 14-4, 2.22
Career 310-160, 3.19 166-67, 2.58
Cy Youngs Six Three

Which pitcher would you want on your side starting the big game? Mychael Urban in his Full Count column for asked 95 players representing all 30 teams who they would vote for as the "Best Clutch Starter in the Game". The respondents selected Pedro number one with more than one third of the votes. Clemens tied for seventh with 5% of the votes.

Pitcher	        Team	Votes
Pedro Martinez	BOS	32
Roy Halladay	TOR	19
Curt Schilling	ARI	11
Randy Johnson	ARI	9
Kevin Brown	LA	9
Mark Prior	CHC	6
Esteban Loaiza	CWS	5
Roger Clemens	NYY	5
Mike Mussina	NYY	4
Tim Hudson	OAK	4
Russ Ortiz	ATL	3
Bartolo Colon	CWS	3
Jason Schmidt	SF	3
Roy Oswalt	HOU	2
Jamie Moyer	SEA	2
Greg Maddux	ATL	2

Eleven tied with 1.

Note: Some of the players polled mentioned more than one pitcher, so the number of answers is higher than the number of respondents.

At their respective peaks, the above question would have made for a much livelier debate. I don't think Pedro has ever been as dominant as Roger was in the latter's 20-strikeout, no walk, three-hit shutout vs. the Seattle Mariners in 1986. On the other hand, as great as Clemens has been for 20 years, he has never pitched as well over a full season as Pedro did in 2000 (1.74 ERA vs. 4.97 for the league with only 128 hits allowed and 32 walks in 217 IP while striking out 284 for a K/BB ratio of nearly 9:1 and a WHIP of less than .75).

Load up the VCRs and DVD recorders. This is one you may want to show your grandchildren.

Richard Lederer
Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT