The last time Pedro Martinez faced the New York Yankees in the post-season came back during the 2004 American League Championship Series. Some may recall that series because (a) it launched a million annoying Red Sox fans and (b) Pedro appeared in game seven as a reliever, pitching an inning and giving up a few runs. Five years later, many things have changed. The Yankees’ trophy cases are empty since – Boston’s case is not – and Pedro has only appeared in one playoff game since leaving soon after.
Needless to say, the old rivals will have some catching up to do prior to Pedro’s first start – whether that comes in Game Two or Three is anyone’s guess at the moment. The Yankees side of things seems to be well-covered, so let’s focus on Pedro and what he works with nowadays.
No longer the ethereal and (at times) deadly projectile of times past, Pedro can still get over 90 MPH, just not with any sense of regularity. That doesn’t stop him from using the pitch nearly 60% of the time. The lack of top-end velocity hasn’t stopped batters from swinging and missing 9.3% of the time either. Left-handed batters, of which the Yankees have a few, still went contact-less about 9% of the time. Pedro’s fastballs still flash some decent movement too, just at a reduced pace.
The Isis to the fastball’s Osiris, Pedro’s change is quite the miss. Despite a whiff rate of 18%, it does have a negative run value; however, the figure could be a benefactor of shoddy luck rather than a staple of ineffectiveness because of defensive dependence. The Phillies were one of the three best defensive teams in the National League as told by UZR and their pitchers combined for a .304 regular season BABIP (for reference: Pedro’s regular season BABIP was .315). Looking for the actual hit data against the change-up to corroborate the ‘it’s just luck’ assortment serves no help to Pedro. The pitch was put into play on 41 occasions and 25 turned into outs. That’s a .390 BABIP on 46% groundballs and a wee bit misfortunate. The question becomes whether a pitch can generate that many whiffs and yet still be extremely hittable. Maybe it was location or good guessing by the hitters or maybe it’s just small sample sizes magnifying everything.
Pedro’s curveball gets the second most whiffs of his pitches. There’s some debate as to whether he throws a slider or cutter. The pitch goes in the low-80s, so I would call it a slider. It doesn’t induce many empty swings, no matter what you call it.
Print This Post