Martinez or Lowe? Sox fans cast their Cy Young votes

ON THE AL EAST

August 11, 2002|By Joe Christensen

Boston Red Sox fans have a nice little debate on their hands these days: Who deserves the Cy Young Award, Derek Lowe or Pedro Martinez?

While Martinez has somehow recreated his magic of the 1999 and 2000 seasons, the 6-foot-6 Lowe has been no slouch himself.

On Thursday night, Lowe went head-to-head with the American League's other leading Cy Young candidate, Barry Zito, and led the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory.

With the win, Lowe improved to 16-5 and lowered his league-best ERA to 2.09.

After yesterday's 2-0 win over the Twins, Martinez is 16-2 with a 2.14 ERA.

"If I was pushed to [vote] today, I don't know what I'd do," Red Sox TV analyst and former player Jerry Remy told the Boston Herald. "I guess I'd say Pedro, but I'd feel terrible leaving Lowe off there. Other than [Curt] Schilling and [Randy] Johnson, they've been the two best bets in baseball.

"Jeez, it'd be close. It'd be a tough decision."

If it's strikeouts you like, Martinez leads the American League with 188. But entering Thursday, Lowe led the league with 258 ground ball outs.

They have received nearly identical run support.

"I'd have co-winners if it was me [voting]," said former Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky. "There's nothing wrong with that. If you have two guys as outstanding as those guys, how do you give it to one of them and not the other?"

Mussina's struggles

The New York Yankees continue to be baffled with Mike Mussina's recent struggles. If things weren't bad enough, the Kansas City Royals roughed up Mussina for 14 hits in a 6-2 victory on Tuesday night.

In Mussina's past 19 starts, dating to late-April, he has posted a 5.48 ERA. American League hitters are hitting .311 against him and .324 with runners in scoring position.

Mussina's velocity is down, averaging less than 90 mph, and as a result, his devastating knuckle-curve has been less effective.

"This isn't something I've had to deal with before," Mussina said. "But I obviously have to deal with it now."

McRae's mellow side

The infamous image of Hal McRae tossing that telephone inside his office as Kansas City Royals manager will live forever, and last weekend there was another incident with Tampa Bay Devil Rays starting pitcher Tanyon Sturtze.

But McRae is as mellow as managers come as he spends long sessions talking baseball with reporters before games at Tropicana Field.

Sturtze, who was upset with McRae for pulling him from his start against the Chicago White Sox, later said, "I didn't handle it exactly the way I should've handled it."

Sturtze, the Devil Rays' Opening Day starter who is now 1-12, tapped McRae on the stomach and then said something before tossing a towel and a water cooler at the manager. After the cooler hit McRae, splashing water on him, the manager shoved Sturtze in the back.

"It was a reflex action on my part," McRae said. "I just kind of reacted to being hit with something."

Compiled from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.

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