Pedro Martinez, Boston Red Sox, April 1, 2002 v. Toronto Blue Jays

pedro martinez

“A Bad Day at the Office”

Blue Jays Score 8 off Martinez in 3 Innings — Pedro Says Arm Is Fine

Toronto Grabs Opening Day Win, 12-11

Monday, April 1, 2002
Opening Day
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

Pedro’s Line

ip h r Er bb k bf pit ball strk GB FB
3+ 9 8 7 2 4 23 84 33 51 3 2

Box Score and play-by-play

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 r h e
Toronto 3 4 1 0 3 0 0 0 1 12 14 0
Boston 1 2 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 11 13 2

Martinez says arm feels fine Just had ‘bad day at the office’
Ian Browne,

The result itself was discouraging enough to put Pedro Martinez in pain. But Red Sox followers can relax. Whatever twinges Martinez felt following Monday’s Opening Day disaster were in his heart and mind, and not anywhere near his invaluable right arm. Is Martinez healthy? Absolutely, he says. Human? Yeah, that too. …

“I’m only human,” said Martinez. “I just had a bad day at the office, and I gave it up. I don’t regret anything. I did my best and that’s all I could do. This is just a game where the Blue Jays battled. I tip my hat to them — they knocked me out. That’s all I can say, I don’t have any excuses.”

Asked how his arm felt, the righty said, “Very good, very good. That’s the only positive thing I can take away from that game is the way I felt. … Something just wasn’t clicking. The Blue Jays did a good job. They broke some bats and [the hits] fell in the right spots. There’s nothing I could do with it. Just give them credit and continue to battle.”

What does Martinez say to fans who have a hard time accepting such common logic on the days he pitches? “I can’t do anything about it,” he said. “They are concerned because they care. I’m saying I’m healthy. I’m happy just to know I’m healthy [instead of] having a good game and not feeling healthy like I did sometimes last year.” …

If something was truly wrong with Martinez, catcher Jason Varitek would notice. But the only thing Varitek could detect was a guy still trying to feel his way back after being limited last season. “He was definitely better than his results,” said Varitek, who went 3-for-3 with a homer in his first game since fracturing his right elbow last June. “It’s just a matter of him getting out there. As long as he’s healthy and he feels good, the rest of it is going to come.”

False start — Sox take a long time to get nowhere in opener
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Here’s a sampling of the numerical madness the teams foisted on the faithful among the 33,520 who endured every last twist of the 4-hour-12-minute ”slobberknocker,” as Trot Nixon portrayed the 12-11 loss: 27 runners left on base, with the Sox leaving the bases loaded three times and wasting a couple of other prime opportunities; 19 walks; four hit batsmen, all Blue Jays; two wild pitches; and one highly vulnerable franchise pitcher, Pedro Martinez, who was knocked out of the game after allowing eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits and two walks in three-plus innings that at times seemed interminable. …

The seven earned runs Martinez surrendered equaled the total he yielded last April over his first five outings. The ace insisted he felt no residual pain from the slight tear in his rotator cuff. But he has entered a new frontier in his pitching career, he acknowledged, and where it takes him could be a mystery. ”Some of the things that are happening with me are different. I’m not used to being wild and erratic at this stage. I’m just hoping everything is going to change. … I don’t know how I’m going to react the next three months. I don’t even know what’s out there for me. I can only hope to be healthy and make some adjustments.”

In an unsettling development for Sox fans, Martinez put his team in a 7-1 hole going into the bottom of the second. His new manager, Grady Little, counseled fans to be patient. ”I would be nervous if his arm was bothering him, but it’s not,” Little said. ”It’s a matter of command and control. It’s coming, and it’s coming slowly, but it will be here soon.”

Big Numbers, A Little Short — Martinez Allows 8 Runs; Sox Lose In 9th
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

Really, what were the chances the Red Sox would score a ton of runs with Pedro Martinez on the mound and still lose? The odds of that happening were about the same as the team hitting four homers and coming up short. Or everyone in the lineup having at least one hit except Manny Ramirez. Or the teams combining for 27 hits and none pelting The Wall. …

“It was a little dry, but that’s not an excuse,” Martinez said. “I’ve gone through some outings where it’s been cooler and more difficult to pitch. But nothing seems to be an excuse. It’s just me. I didn’t do my job.”

Little suggested the pregame ceremonies that pushed the starting time back 11 minutes might have been a factor. Martinez threw his first pitch at 1:26 p.m. “He was ready to go at 1:15,” Little said. “That’s a very good point,” Varitek said. “I was chomping at the bit, so he must have been. But I wasn’t pitching.”

Battered Martinez offers no excuses
Paul Kenyon, Providence Journal

Manager Grady Little, pitching coach Tony Cloninger and catcher Jason Varitek all joined Martinez in saying they feel the pitcher is on the right track. “When he was warming up, he had good movement and good location of his fastball,” Cloninger said. “He may have not gotten location on his change up one time, but he had good arm speed. He’s going to be fine.”

The change-up on which Martinez missed his target was to Jose Cruz Jr., a pitch Cruz hit to the base of the fence in left for an RBI-double in a three-run first. “It was good at times,” Varitek said of Martinez’s location. “Sometimes he located it exactly and they (still) did a pretty good job (hitting it).” …

Martinez threw 83 pitches 58 for strikes. Scouts sitting behind home plate clocked his fastball regularly in the low 90s and as high as 94 miles-per-hour, very close to his normal speeds. Martinez said he threw all his pitches, including perhaps a dozen or so curves. However, at least one scout said that while the speed was fine, he did not think Martinez’ pitches were moving as much as they normally do.

Davidson: Pedro not quite there after injury
Art Davidson, MetroWest Daily News

Right from the outset it was evident that Pedro Martinez was not the pitcher who was considered the best at his craft just a year ago. The confident swagger that’s normally part of Martinez’s persona was missing. And so was his masterful control. Martinez often becomes peeved when the manager or pitching coach invades his turf on the mound, but he looked into the dugout on a few occasions of yesterday’s opener to seemingly receive parental reassurance.

No, Pedro, you’re not excused
Bill Ballou, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Excuses, excuses. That’s what came out of spring training, and there was more of the same here yesterday when Martinez was pummeled by the Blue Jays in a 12-11 defeat. … More than won-lost, more than ERA, base-runners per nine innings is the best barometer of how well someone is pitching. An average of 42 per nine is not very good.

“I’m happy with the way I feel,” Martinez said, adding that he feels very positive. That’s scary. It is one thing to be hurt and pitch poorly. It is another to feel great and pitch poorly. Excuses? Call them rationalizations. Call it spin, even.

Pedro is cause for concern
Garry Brown, Springfield Union-News

“Just a bad day at the office,” he said. Hey, maybe that’s really all there was to it. Maybe Pedro’s shaky performance in the Red Sox season opener yesterday really was just nothing more than one of those bad baseball days. Heck, all professional athletes have ’em, don’t they?

Maybe so, but we’re not talking about your average professional athlete here. We’re talking about the best goshdarn pitcher in baseball. The best of his time, perhaps, and maybe one of the best of all-time. … Now, add the fact that Martinez is coming back after a 2001 season lost to shoulder problems, and it’s no wonder that Red Sox fans everywhere fear the worst about their ace. They want to believe that he’s OK, but when he goes out there and looks like just another average big league starter, the red flags go up.

Sox do everything except win
Steven Krasner, Providence Journal

Opening Day is a time to reintroduce baseball to the fans who didn’t get to see the teams train in Florida. So yesterday, the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays obliged the baseball-hungry fans by showing them a little bit of everything in a four-hour, 12-minute grinder at Fenway Park. Bloop hits. Home runs. Errors. Diving catches. Walks. More walks. Hit-batsmen. A double steal. A crossed-up catcher. A bungled call. An ejection. Pitching changes. More pitching changes. A botched sacrifice-bunt attempt. A caught-stealing. In other words, a little bit of everything.

Sox shellshocked: Pedro pounded in season-opening 12-11 loss to Jays
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Rather than being announced as starters and reserves during pregame introductions, the Sox opted to be called out as a team, with the pecking order being solely determined by their uniforms’ numerical order. …

Martinez, who was disturbingly erratic in five spring training starts, did nothing to quell mounting fears regarding the condition of his right shoulder and was shelled for eight runs in only three innings in a 12-11 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. … “This was the best I could do today,” Martinez said afterward. That’s a sobering thought to New Englanders, who had come to rely on the three-time Cy Young Award winner as almost a guaranteed victory since he played his first game for the Sox five seasons ago. That was especially true in April, when he had been 13-1 with a 1.92 ERA in 21 games prior to yesterday. Yesterday’s seven earned runs equaled a career worst.

Everything but a victory — Much to captivate fans as Red Sox drop opener, 12-11
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe

At 1:23 p.m., Martinez and the Red Sox took the field, and at 1:26 Martinez threw the first pitch of the 2002 season. Who knew he was in for perhaps the worst game of his major league career? Not to make excuses, but Little said there was too much standing around during the ceremonies, and noted that Martinez’s first pitch came 11 minutes later than planned.

Martinez did give up a lot of cheapies, but he caused much of the damage himself, walking two, hitting two, and committing an error. He had almost nothing. He said he feels fine. He credited the Blue Jay hitters. But clearly he is not yet Pedro. Will he ever be again? It’s the big question that plagues Red Sox Nation as fans chew on this painful loss and pray that it’s not too late to salvage the season.

Toronto catches a break
Rich Thompson, Boston Herald

Toronto catcher Darrin Fletcher quickly noticed what was missing from Pedro Martinez’ repertoire in yesterday’s 12-11 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. … “He didn’t throw as many breaking balls, I did notice that,” said Fletcher, who caught Martinez when both played in Montreal. “He didn’t use as many breaking balls and you can read into that anything you want. He was throwing changeups and fastballs, but not many breaking balls. But other than that he looked typical for Pedro. When he was warming up we thought he was favoring (his right shoulder) a little bit, but after the second pitch, he looked like he was letting it go again. Pedro is a phenomenal talent and we just got him today. I’m just going to soak up the fact we got him today because he’ll probably bury us the next time.”

An opposing view: Boston’s ace isn’t right
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

Sympathy comes in short supply in the baseball business. For the fans, it’s a game, but for the people who actually put on the uniform, the endeavor to beat the opponent is an earnest one with a black-and-white bottom line: If you won, you really don’t care why the other guys lost. Bad luck, injury, off-the-field calamity. That’s not our problem, it’s yours.

Which is why it spoke volumes, an hour after Opening Day ended with a 12-11 Red Sox loss, that Toronto manager Buck Martinez sat in his office, still in uniform, somberly discussing Pedro Martinez when he could have been riffing on the way his team scored eight times against the Boston ace in three innings. …

”The hardest he threw was 94 [miles an hour],” Martinez said. ”He cranked it up in the second inning, when he had runners on first and third and struck out three in a row. He made some great pitches there, which reflects some pedigree. But I looked at some of the notes we have on him over the last few years. August, shoulder. September, shoulder. He’s a little guy. There’s a lot of wear and tear when you’ve had so many great innings. Command probably suffers more than anything when somebody is hurt. You can crank it up, light up the radar gun a few times, but command depends on execution, the repetition of time and again throwing your pitches the same way.”

That’s not what Buck Martinez saw from Pedro Martinez yesterday. ”He was inconsistent with his arm slot, up here, then down here, then over here. From an outsider’s view, it looked like he was trying to find a place where it doesn’t hurt. Pitchers have a tendency to pitch around pain.”

Opening daze: Pedro start could signal bad ending for Red Sox
Gerry Callahan, Boston Globe

If yesterday’s Opening Day extravaganza at Fenway Park was any indication, we know this much about the 2002 Boston Red Sox: They will hit. They will score runs. They will break a few windshields on Lansdowne Street, and they will destroy the fragile psyches of many a young pitcher in the American League East. … If yesterday’s 12-11 beating at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays was any indication, the Red Sox cannot win the division. They can’t grab the wild card. They can’t win 90. They can’t match up with the American League iron because they can’t count on the one man who is more vital to his team’s success than any player in the game. It appeared that something was wrong with Pedro Martinez, and that means that nothing can be quite right for the Boston Red Sox.

Jays think big but win with small ball
Richard Griffin, Toronto Star

There were moments during the Blue Jays’ ragged but interesting 12-11 win over the Red Sox yesterday that could bolster both sides of the big-ball/little-ball argument, the chasm that has served to separate sophomore manager Buck Martinez from his boss, J.P. Ricciardi, this spring.

Hinske picks on Pedro quickly — Jays rookie nearly hits double on first pitch, then enjoys ‘surreal day’
Geoff Baker, Toronto Star

Rookie third baseman Eric Hinske nearly had a double on the very first major league pitch he faced yesterday from Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez. But the ball, roped down the right-field line, bounced just foul.

Preocupante pesadilla para Pedro — Permite ocho carreras Medias Rojas pierden
Por Tito Stevens, Redaccion Del Globe

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