Monday, March 30, 2009

7 Days, 7 Years: 2002

That's right, assholes, only 7 days left until winter officially ends and God returns to us the smell of freshly cut grass, pine tar, steroid allegations and wintergreen skoal. So, in honor of this divine festival of baseball, day-drinking and tears of joy, we will be counting down the top pitching perfromances from the past 7 seasons, starting with 2002, and ending with 2008. Feel free to diagree in the comments. Or short walk, long pier. Either way, it's time to rejoice.

2002 - Pedro Martinez, Boston Red Sox

Stats: 20-4, 2.26 ERA, 239 K's, 2nd in American League Cy Young Voting

This was the last year of vintage Pedro. Not merely dominate Pedro - but vintage, shit-your-pants when you stand in the box against him, Pedro. To fully understand just how good he was in 2002, you need to look past the box score, and examine the secondary stats that make you wish your team traded for him back in 1997 *cough, cough Yankees*.

His WHIP was a gaunt 0.92, and after a terrible opening day - he let up 7 runs in 3 innings to the Blue Jays - he never let up more than 4 earned runs. 18 of his 30 starts in '02 included at least 8 K's. Batters batted a paultry .198 against him, unbiased on both sides of the plate: .191 against righties, .202 against lefties. After the All-Star break, Pedro's statline went like this: 12 GS, 83 IP, 98 K's, 1.61 ERA, .189 BA.

During this year of binge-drinking and sleeping until dark, nobody hated Pedro more than me. And, unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to appreciate his domination, simply because I was too busy both hoping he would get kidnapped by some crazy Yankees fans, and constructing numerous voodoo dolls that had creepy pimp mustaches and the budding sprouts of a disgusting jheri-curl. The pin-pricking may have worked on his Cy Young chances - he somehow lost to slow-pitch lefty Barry Zito - but it did not negate the fact that he added another year to his Hall of Fame career.

Damn you dark forces!

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