10/30/09 2:47 AM EST
Manuel shows his confidence in Pedro
Skipper sticks with righty, recalling fateful '03 ALCS
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Martinez seemed about done with two outs and none on in the sixth when Hideki Matsui homered to give the Yanks a one-run lead on their way to a 3-1, series-tying win. Yet, Manuel opted to bring Martinez out again to pitch the seventh. This came after Manuel had a long talk in the dugout with Martinez."He said he felt good," Manuel said. "He said that he was fine. He said that he wanted to go back out and pitch. The bottom of the lineup was up and everything, and I thought he hadn't lost anything." That's precisely what Martinez told Little. Little was the guy, who in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, left Martinez in to face a hostile crowd and a rousing Yankees comeback across 161st Street in the old Yankee Stadium. When the bottom of the eighth inning began, the Red Sox had a 5-2 lead and seemed headed to the World Series. Martinez got the first out, but four batters later, the score was tied and Martinez was yanked from the game, having tossed 123 pitches. The Yanks won the pennant on Aaron Boone's 11th-inning walk-off homer and the rest is history. Little never lived the move down and was dismissed shortly thereafter. On Thursday night, Martinez, who claimed later that he was "under the weather," opened the seventh by allowing singles to Jerry Hairston Jr. and Melky Cabrera. Manuel went out and yanked him with his pitch count having reached 107. Six years ago, the word on Martinez was that he lost juice as he crossed the 100-pitch threshold. All these miles, arm injuries and pitches later, that threshold probably should be about 10-20 pitches lower.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.