10/03/2003 3:54 PM ET
Pedro to start potential Game 5
Burkett will take the mound for Game 4
BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez threw 130 intensity-filled pitches in Game 1 of this Division Series against the A's. Agonizingly for the Red Sox, the lead was surrendered after Martinez's exit and the game was lost. The ace's next start will either be on four days’ rest or five months of rest.
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
With his team down, 2-0, in the best-of-five series, Red Sox manager Grady Little announced Friday that if there is a Game 4, Martinez will not come back on three days’ rest to pitch. Instead, he will be ready for duty in a potential winner-take-all Game 5.
"Especially in that seventh inning, (Martinez) was pretty high intensity there," Little said. "But he feels good, and he's looking forward to pitching again."
Veteran right-hander John Burkett will pitch Game 4, if the Sox get that far.
Given the workload Martinez had in Game 1, the move was hardly a surprise. And it won't cause the same controversy that occurred in 1998, when former Sox manager Jimy Williams declined Martinez's request to pitch on short rest in Game 4 and went with Pete Schourek.
Schourek pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings in Game 4 of 1998, but the Sox lost, 2-1. Martinez never got to see Game 5 in Cleveland.
Everyone in Red Sox-land is hoping for a different outcome this time.
"He would have been available for Game 4, but in the position we're in now, we have to win three games," Little said. "We'll have our backs to the wall Saturday and we'll have our backs to the wall again Sunday. We want him on the field in Game 5. He can't pitch in all those games."
Originally, Burkett had been assuming Martinez would pitch Game 4 if the Sox trailed in the series. But given the circumstances of Game 1, the right-hander wasn't surprised with Little’s decision.
"We'll have our backs to the wall Saturday and we'll have our backs to the wall again Sunday.
We want (Pedro) on the field in Game 5. He can't pitch in all those games."
-- Grady Little
"I started wondering, with that last inning he had and when he went to 130 pitches, that's pretty tough to come back from," Burkett said. "I thought maybe there would be a chance I'd pitch. That's great. Hopefully we can win tomorrow night and take a little bit of momentum back."
At 38 years old, Burkett won't be daunted by the challenge of trying to keep his team alive. He's 2-1 in four postseason starts.
"I know what to expect, I've been through it before," Burkett said. "Any time you experience something more than once, you're going to get more comfortable with it. That's going to be the case with me. I've pitched in playoff games before and this will be another time I'll be able to do it."
That said, he wouldn't have been in a snit if Little had opted for Martinez.
"I hate to say it, but I think Pedro's a little better than me," quipped Burkett. "To get bumped by him wouldn't be embarrassing or anything. Grady's going to do what's best for our team to win."
Burkett just hopes he gets the chance to pitch Martinez to a Game 5.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.