Yankees hope they can still be Pedro’s daddy
Pedro Martinez might not bring the same heat he did when Johnny Damon was watching those pitches crackle from center field at Fenway Park, but he knows one thing: his former teammate still loves the big stage.
The Yankees will look to tackle their one-time arch nemesis on Thursday in Game 2 of the World Series, as Martinez – who claimed he might have been the most influential player at the old Yankee Stadium – will set foot on center stage at the new cathedral and enjoy what is sure to be a hostile reception.
“Pedro has been a dominant pitcher in this league for a long time, and he does influence a crowd,” Damon said. “Hopefully we can just beat him. I mean, that’s the bottom line. Whatever guys say or who they are, I mean, our job is to try to beat teams. That’s what we’re hoping for tonight.”
Damon said that the “new Pedro” still presents a challenge in a postseason setting. After all, you can ask the Dodgers about that one. Here’s what old buddy Joe Torre had to say after Pedro’s performance in the NLCS:
“As much as you always hated anybody with a Red Sox uniform on, you
always admired how well he did his job,” Torre said. “Today it’s remarkable for not
pitching as long as he — since the last time he pitched, he was — you
know, a little bit like [Greg] Maddux. Their stuff isn’t similar, but he seems
to be able to read the hitter. His ability to throw a handful of
different pitches with varying speeds, I mean, that’s what the game is
all about, just being able to upset the timing. Even though he doesn’t
have the same velocity he once did, he did a masterful job today.”
Here’s how Damon broke down facing Pedro in Game 2:
“He definitely doesn’t have to rear back and fire the ball anymore,” Damon said. “He knows how to pitch. He knows how to get certain movement on the ball. And he’s not going to give in. He’s always been smart on the mound, and we just have to hope for mistakes, and when we get those mistakes, we can’t miss them.
“Cliff Lee last night, there wasn’t many mistakes at all. Hopefully we have a better chance tonight. But Pedro is smart. Pedro knows what to do. It’s going to be a battle. Hopefully A.J. [Burnett] can go out there and pitch as well as we’ve seen him pitch a lot of times this year and keep the game close. If that’s the case, I think we have a pretty good chance.”