Pedro Martinez built an amazing legacy in Boston. He was just coming off of a surreal 1997 season for the Expos when Boston traded for him. He posted a 1.90 ERA in 241.1 innings with 305 strikeouts. Pedro would only continue that sheer dominance in a Red Sox uniform. He would follow up that amazing 97 season with a 2.89 ERA along with 251 strikeouts in 233.1 innings. His ERA would dip the next year to 2.07. It fell more the year after to 1.74 to accompany his 313 strikeouts, both career highs.
Did you think that’s it? He followed that up with a 2.39 in an injury-plagued 2001 season, a 2.26 in 2002, and a 2.22 in 2003. It feels insane even typing all of this. Pedro would then have his worst season in Boston, a 3.90 ERA. It was the year he won the World Series, and unfortunately his last year in Boston.
Boston adored Pedro during his seven-year tenure. He absolutely loved playing here along with the fans who couldn’t get enough of him. This man was the Luke Skywalker of Massachusetts. He was our hero. It got to the point where his pitching was almost unfair. Every day Pedro pitched was like a holiday. The offense knew they had the clear advantage. Pedro will never forget Boston, and the fans will never forget him. He is a Red Sox player for life. He is even immortalized in the Hall of Fame with a Boston hat.
When anyone thinks of Pedro Martinez, they think of him punching out all the big jacked juicers during the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway like it was nothing. They think of him throwing six no-hit innings against Cleveland in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS. They think of the letter K. Whether it was a backwards one or a forwards one, you sure saw that letter a whole lot whenever that man was on the mound. Pedro built a legacy that will forever live on in Boston.
A New Sheriff in Town
Now let’s go to present day. There’s a new ace in Boston now; a 6’6″ lefty who goes by the name of Chris Sale. He’s undoubtedly Boston’s new ace. After having a great first year in Boston in 2017, his 2018 season will just blow you away. In 23 starts (146 innings) he owns a 1.97 ERA along with 212 punch-outs. He averages 97 mph on his heater, touching 100 at times. His slider will make you sick. The look on his face alone will scare you. This man is the definition of dominance. He will face any lineup, anywhere, at anytime. He doesn’t care.
One thing that is pretty important when you’re on the Red Sox is how you do against the Yankees. Is Chris Sale scared of the Yankees, you ask? Let me answer with this statement; Sale has a career 1.86 ERA at Yankee Stadium. Chris Sale doesn’t care that the Yankees have a good lineup. This guy eats fear for breakfast. He isn’t afraid of anybody.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 12, 2018
Can Chris Sale Draw Close to Pedro One Day?
Here comes a question that’s been tossed around for a while: can Chris Sale build the same legacy Pedro Martinez did with the Red Sox? He sure can. Now obviously he hasn’t done it yet. As the years pass and we see even more of him we’ll see how many years he can keep this type of success up. In my mind, he doesn’t need to win a ring to become one of the greatest pitchers ever to pitch for Boston. Pedro never needed one for the same reason. But helping this beloved team win a ring makes it all the better.
Let’s compare how these two match up.
These are Chris Sale’s numbers through his first 55 games with the Red Sox:
360.1 IP – 2.52 ERA – 0.92 WHIP
76 BB – 527 K – 13.2 K/9
These are Pedro’s numbers through the same amount of games:
387.0 IP – 2.74 ERA – 1.06 WHIP
95 BB – 461 K – 10.7 K/9
It’s pretty incredible how much these two mirror each other.
Watching Sale pitch every fifth day spoils us as Red Sox fans. It reminds us of the absolutely dominance from that legendary ace years ago. Can Chris Sale become the legend that Pedro was in Boston? It’s up in the air. But from what we’ve seen so far, it’s looking more likely every day that man steps on that mound.