Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez struck out 17 in an epic performance
Pedro Martinez was as entrenched in the heated feud with the New York Yankees as any member of the Boston Red Sox during the peak of their rivalry. Nearly two decades have passed since Pedro was a part of this clash between division rivals but he still can’t resist an opportunity to troll his nemesis.
Martinez took to social media to post a highlight reel from arguably the best performance of his career. The Red Sox ace struck out a career-high 17 batters in a complete game against the Yankees late in the 1999 season. In case anyone forgot about this epic performance, Pedro served a reminder of his dominance over the Yankees by sharing all 17 of those strikeouts.
Pedro set the tone early by plunking the first batter of the game. Chuck Knoblauch was thrown out attempting to steal second base, allowing Martinez to navigate through the first inning while facing the minimum of three batters.
A two-out solo home run by Chili Davis put the Yankees on the board in the second inning. That would be the only hit that Martinez would allow in the game. He retired the next 22 batters, racking up 15 more strikeouts along the way.
The Red Sox would claim the lead in the sixth inning on a Mike Stanley home run. They held on to that lead to give Martinez his 21st win of the season.
Pedro struck out the side three times in this game. The first time was in the fifth inning, right before the Red Sox took the lead. He struck out the side again in the seventh inning against the heart of the Yankees order, catching Derek Jeter looking, then getting Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams to chase strike three. Martinez wrapped up his masterpiece by striking out the side in the ninth inning.
None of the final 11 batters he faced were able to put the ball in play in fair territory against Martinez. He struck out nine of them while mixing in a couple of harmless popups in foul territory that were caught for routine outs.
Martinez would finish the game tossing nine innings, allowing one run on one hit. He hit a batter but didn’t allow a walk. His 17 strikeouts were the most ever recorded by a starting pitcher against the Yankees.
This September performance was one of his final outings in a season that was not only one of the best of his storied career, it was one of the best seasons by any MLB pitcher in the modern era. In 1999, Martinez went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 0.923 WHIP while setting the franchise single-season record with 313 strikeouts. Martinez earned the first of his consecutive Cy Young awards and finished as the runner-up on the AL MVP ballot that season.
Every time Martinez took the mound during the peak of his career was a captivating event. That was particularly true anytime it involved the Yankees. Pedro saved his best performance for Boston’s biggest rival and the Hall of Fame pitcher will never let the Yankees forget about his dominance.