Tuesday, September 15, 2009

VSR: Welcome Back, Pedro

I'd be remiss if I didn't shoutout Pedro Martinez for doing what he's doing right now. Two years, we thought he was injured, done and only a press conference away from the 5-year waiting period to Cooperstown. Last year, the Mets cast him off like he was finished.

It was the first time Pedro had been unwanted since the Dodgers traded him for the immortal Delino Deshields in 1993. The pitcher who Tommy Lasorda and them thought was too frail to be a pitcher was becoming frail and injury prone, no longer the dominant pitcher he was from 1997-2004.

Then he pitched in the World Baseball Classic....6 innings, 6 strikeouts, 0 runs. Could it be that the old arm had something left in him? Nobody took a chance and the Mets let him go but the Phillies thought maybe he could be a No. 4-5 guy.

His first start was shaky but he still picked up the W in 5 innings. The next three were even more shaky - one win in 3 appearances and just maybe, Pedro just didnt have it. 2 innings in his last August start. Nah, man. This guy will be a flash but not a consistent star.

All of a sudden, September struck and something happened. The pitch counts increased. The strikeouts increased, the innings eaten up. The W's being earned instead of given by the offense. And then came the motivation, Sunday against the Mets, the team that cast him off.

Read the box score. 8 IP, 0 runs, 6 Hits, 7 strikeouts - 130 PITCHES! He almost stayed in too long but worked his way out of the jam with some great defense behind him. It was vintage Pedro and now he's 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA.

Suddenly, the Phillies got a LOT scarier and Pedro just reminded everyone why he's been the best pitcher we've seen of his cloth since Bob Gibson. Intimidation, power, precision and just the chance to dominate on any given night. That's why I respected him so much in his prime when he should've won the 1999 MVP. He takes the ball and despite being 5-11 and 170 lbs dripping wet, he pitches with his heart.

Welcome Back, Pedro. I fear what will happen if you pitch the Dodgers and just use that trade as motivation.

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