NEW YORK (AP) â€” Pedro Martinez once again dominated his league unlike any other pitcher.
Nearly unhittable for the second straight season, Martinez was the clear favorite in voting for the American League Cy Young Award.
Martinez went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA â€” nearly two runs better than Roger Clemens' second-best AL mark of 3.70.
``I think I did as good as last year or maybe better individually,'' Martinez said after his final start of the season.
Last year, Martinez went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA to become only the fourth pitcher to win the AL Cy Young Award unanimously. He also joined Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson, as the only pitchers to win the honor in each league. Martinez won it in 1997 for Montreal.
``I think he had a better year this year,'' Red Sox manager Jim Williams said. ``You can't just look at his wins and losses.''
His wins were down due in part to poor run support. But everything else was the same for baseball's best pitcher. In 217 innings, he allowed only 128 hits and 32 walks.
He also struck out 284 batters and wasn't afraid to brush back hitters in an effort to intimidate the opposition.
While 2000 was as good â€” or better â€” than 1999 individually for Martinez, it was a frustrating season nonetheless. The Red Sox, despite having the best team ERA in the AL, went 85-77 and finished 2 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.
``There is something missing. To make the playoffs, if I had to give away all my individual stats, I would do that,'' Martinez said.
Twenty-game winners David Wells of Toronto and Tim Hudson of Oakland also should get some votes, but their ERAs were both higher than 4.00.
If Martinez won, it would be only the fourth time a pitcher won outright back-to-back Cy Young Awards in the American League. Clemens, the pitcher Martinez replaced in Boston, did it in 1986-87 with the Red Sox and 1997-98 for Toronto. Jim Palmer won in 1975-76 for Baltimore.
Detroit's Denny McLain won the Cy Young in 1969 and shared the award the next year with Baltimore's Mike Cuellar.