To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to section navigation or Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...

News

Skip to main content
Sox roll out rested Pedro in Game 5
Below is an advertisement.
10/05/2003  7:08 PM ET 
Sox roll out rested Pedro in Game 5
Classic pitchers' matchup on tap against A's Zito
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
The Red Sox are confident in taking the decisive Game 5 with their ace Pedro Martinez on the mound. (Ron Schwane/AP)
BOSTON -- The Red Sox packed their bags for Oakland with enthusiasm you rarely see from a group of men set to fly across the country for the third time in the span of the last week.

The Sox are headed back West with the knowledge that they have their ace ready to go on full rest in a winner-take-all, Game 5 Monday at Network Associates Coliseum.

The A's counter with lefty Barry Zito, who beat Martinez out for the AL Cy Young Award last season and stymied the Sox in Game 2 of this series.

One crucial difference could be that Martinez had his normal four days of rest while Zito is going on three days' rest.

 

trade    Keys to Game 5

A'S

1. Zito's hook.
When Barry Zito's nasty 12-to-6 curveball is clicking, he is hard to beat. Boston found that out in Game 2, when he lived on that pitch and dominated with nine strikeouts. This will mark the first time in Zito's Major League career that he has pitched on three days rest, though, so we'll see how he handles that old-time baseball work schedule.

2. Et tu, Eric and Miggy? Now that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz have made at least some noise for Boston at the plate when it counted most, the A's must have an offensive breakout from Eric Chavez (1-for-19) and Miguel Tejada (1-for-18).

3. Don't play tight. Everyone knows by now that the A's have lost eight consecutive possible "clinch" games over the last four years, and that they have lost Game 5 in the previous three consecutive American League Division Series (2000 and '02 at home). "That's history and it doesn't weigh on my mind," Scott Hatteberg told you in his latest MLB.com playoff diary.

RED SOX

1. Pedro's pitch count. If Boston is going to rely on Pedro Martinez to extend the postseason, then it has to hope he doesn't extend too many at-bats. In the two meetings with Oakland this season -- including Game 1 of this series -- the A's pushed his pitch count into triple figures by the fifth inning. He threw a season-high 130 pitches over seven innings last week.

2. Bullpen momentum. The occasionally maligned Sox bullpen has risen to the occasion the last two games. In Game 3, Mike Timlin (3 IP) and Scott Williamson (1 IP) combined for four perfect innings of relief. In Game 4, Tim Wakefield (1.2 IP) and Williamson (2 IP) combined to keep Oakland scoreless. Would Williamson remain fresh?

3. R-I-S-P-ect. It was a notable turnabout when Oakland stranded 20 runners in scoring position and Boston only nine in Game 4, and the Red Sox have to again seriously advance and drive in runners when they have their chances against Barry Zito. You can't always count on a walkoff homer and late-inning theatrics to win.

-- Mark Newman

"(Zito) is a great pitcher, but we're not going to go down without a fight," said Sox GM Theo Epstein. "He's pitching on three days' rest. I'm sure he's going to come out and pitch a great ballgame but I like the guy we have on the mound too on regular rest."

Martinez is not only a three-time Cy Young Award winner, but a man who has already proven what he can do when all the chips are on the table.

The last time Martinez pitched a decisive Game 5 was four years ago, when the Sox rallied back from an 0-2 deficit to win the series. In the clincher, Martinez returned from an injury in the back of his throwing arm and fired six no-hit innings out of the bullpen.

It was an Instant Classic for sure. The Sox are hoping for another one Monday against Zito.

"Pedro's a warrior," said Sox right-hander John Burkett. "Everybody knows that. He's one of the (fiercest competitors) in the league. It's impressive, his intensity and his willingness to do whatever it takes. Hopefully it will work out for us tomorrow."


"We've got a lot of heart. And then we've got the best pitcher in the world going Monday and we're pretty excited."
-- Todd Walker

The fact that Little left Martinez out there for a season-high of 130 pitches on Wednesday was proof positive of how the ace is feeling physically. Where in past years Martinez has suffered late-season injuries, he's pitched his best baseball of the season coming down the stretch this season.

In Game 1, Martinez was gritty if not spectacular, allowing three runs over seven innings. He ended the night by getting out of a bases-loaded jam.

He left with a one-run lead, and then watched the bullpen squander it. This time, Little will have to yank the ball out of Martinez's hand.

With everything on the line, Martinez's pitch count would have to be astronomically high to see him give up the ball.

He offered to give Little an inning out of the 'pen in Game 3, and would have come in if the Sox had taken the lead in the bottom of the eighth. It didn't happen. He offered his services again in the 'pen Sunday, but Little wanted him fresh for the finale.

And that's exactly what he will be.

"We've got a lot of heart," said Sox second baseman Todd Walker. "And then we've got the best pitcher in the world going Monday and we're pretty excited."

Who can blame them?

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



Red Sox Headlines
• More Red Sox Headlines
MLB Headlines