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Pedro ready with season on the line
10/18/2004 4:40 AM ET
BOSTON -- Paaaydrooo, Paaaydrooo, Paaaydrooo echoed throughout the Bronx earlier this week, but the mocking chants Pedro Martinez endured in Yankee Stadium won't be heard in this park anytime soon.

Instead, Martinez, the right-hander with a wicked fastball and changeup that can still buckle knees, will be serenaded by cheers fit for a king at Fenway Park and very few will care who his "daddy" is.

He needs all the help he can get.

Martinez, like Derek Lowe before him, will once again represent the Red Sox's last stand in an uphill battle against the New York Yankees.

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"Pedro has stepped up all year," first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "We expect nothing less out of Petey. He's been the No. 1 guy around here for a long time and we feel very confident every time he takes the mound."

This time, the Red Sox are down 3-1 in the American League Championship Series and it will be up to Martinez, one of the city's favorites, to help dig them out of the hole. Should he do it, co-ace Curt Schilling is waiting in the wings to start Game 6.

"This is for all the marbles. Pedro Martinez is at home for Game 5 and I expect nothing but awesome," Kevin Millar said. "He is going to be tremendous, but offensively, we have to score first and give ourselves a chance to give him a lead. These four games, they have been up on us and it's our turn to get the lead."

Martinez started and took the loss Wednesday in Game 2 of the ALCS in front of a hostile crowd in New York. He allowed only four hits and three runs, including a costly two-run home run to John Olerud in the sixth inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

   Pedro Martinez  /   P
Born: 10/25/71
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

He has now lost two straight decisions to the Yankees in the postseason and is 0-2 with a 5.31 ERA in his last three playoff starts against New York. He has surrendered three or more earned runs in six consecutive postseason starts.

Despite the statistics, the Red Sox have not lost confidence in their starter.

"He's been doing the same thing for like 100 years," catcher Jason Varitek said. "He does not waver much from what he brings out there. Hopefully, command is the first and foremost thing he has tomorrow. We just want to get a quality start and stay away from big innings."

"I've got good thoughts about (Martinez)," closer Keith Foulke said. "Pedro pitched well last time out and I'll guarantee he's coming out with a lot of fire and a lot of intensity tomorrow."

Said Millar, "We have two aces. You can flip a coin with Pedro or Schilling. Pedro has been tremendous for us but run support plays a factor in his record. He could easily have 21 wins also. Pedro has been in a dogfight pretty much every start."

Monday's start will be Martinez's 10th career postseason start and his 11th appearance. He has a 5-2 career postseason record with a 3.31 ERA. In four career League Championship Series starts, he is 1-2 with a 3.95 ERA, including a win against New York in Game 3 of the 1999 ALCS in Boston.

"We are still at the bottom of a very big hill, but if we go down, we are going to go down fighting and scrapping," Mientkiewicz said. "We are not out of the woods yet and we got a lot of guys who are dead tired, but we live to see one more day and we will take it from there."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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