Red Sox Battle of Aces: Pedro Martinez vs Chris Sale
Chris Sale is off to a tremendous start in his first season with the Boston Red Sox, reminiscent of Pedro Martinez when he first arrived in Boston.
The Boston Red Sox have a history, especially recently, of making some big free agent signings and trades, and not all of them pan out. This is not entirely the fault of the organization because some of the players have been bitten by the injury bug.
One of the more successful acquisitions from a trade has been Pedro Martinez.
Pedro came to Boston in 1998 after posting a National League low 1.90 ERA for the Montreal Expos the previous season. That year he also posted 13 complete games while averaging under a 1.00 WHIP. This was enough to snag him a Cy Young award and high expectations as he came in over to wear the red, white, and blue of the Red Sox.
In 1998, Martinez came in to a team that finished fourth in the AL East the year before and had a returning rotation of Tim Wakefield, Bret Saberhagen, and Steve Avery. Improvement was mandatory, and improve they did. At the end of season, all the starters and winning records while finishing with more than 10 wins each. The Red Sox finished in first place. His time with the Red Sox included wins, a small ruckus with Don Zimmer, and two more Cy Young awards. The apex of his time with the Red Sox came in 2004 when he was instrumental in the team winning the World Series.
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Chris Sale was the big off-season get for the Red Sox at the 2016 winter meetings. Sale comes in to the Red Sox with an average strikeout per game of 8. In 5 years with the White Sox, he averaged 227 strike outs per year and a 3.05 ERA. He was in the Cy Young talk, each year, finishing as high as third in 2013.
Sale comes in to a team that last year finished first in the AL East and a rotation that features a former Cy Young award winner in David Price, the reigning Cy Young winner in Rick Porcello, a 13-game winner in Steven Wright, and a healthy Eduardo Rodriguez. Sale is also joining a prolific offense that features four players with 20 or more home runs and six players with 70 or more RBI from 2016. The expectations are high in Boston after winning three titles in the last 12 years and returning the players that they have.
Now that the groundwork for the battle has been set, and we have gone through the background, let’s get ready to rumble. Taking a look at the first three games pitched after the free agent acquisition, how do the two aces stack up?
For Pedro Martinez, his stat line looks like this:
Innings Pitched: 23
Earned Runs: 1
Record: 2-0 (He got a no decision against Anaheim in his second start).
The stat line for Chris Sale shakes out as follows:
Innings Pitched: 21 2/3
Earned Runs: 3
Record: 1-1 (His first start was a win by the Red Sox, but was scoreless until the 12th inning).
As we can see, the numbers are pretty identical, with the major difference being the earned runs and ERA. We can blame the enormous 1.25 ERA for Sale on the game against Detroit when he was “roughed up” for two runs.
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For Red Sox fans, we can only hope that the rest of his tenure with the team ends up like it did for Pedro with a few Cy Young awards and a title or two, or three tossed in there.