It’s been a long and bumpy ride all season long for the Mets’ long list of would-be number five starters.
It started out with so much hope and promise after Mike Pelfrey won the job coming out of Spring Training, but after quickly falling to 0-6, a poorly executed game of musical chairs began.
The Mets have lacked a true ace all season long. A true stopper, if you will. It’s prevented the Mets from having a winning streak of more than four games, all season long. Give credit to this team for enduring this situation and yet still finding themselves atop the NL East.
They say that patience is a virtue. Well, the Mets’ patience is about to be rewarded in grand fashion.
The long awaited return of Pedro Martinez is now as close as one of his high and inside pitches, buzzing past your ear. The Mets have done what they had to do, to make it this far. They’ve held down the fort with guys like Chan Ho Park, Jason Vargas, Mike Pelfrey, Jorge Sosa and Brian Lawrence.
Now it’s time for the ace of this team to resume his rightful place at the head of a Mets rotation that has lacked consistency and showmanship.
Pedro Martinez has worked hard to get to this point, and he did it with hardly any setbacks. He showed up to his first rehab game ready to play, and since then he has continued to improve and most importantly, refine his extensive assortment of devastating pitches. He is what we call a perfectionist. Rather than mowing down minor league hitters at an alarming rate, he chose to hone his pitches and throw them with pinpoint accuracy instead.
During his last rehab start, Pedro had his best performance yet. He threw 88 pitches in a six inning outing that had him proclaiming,"I’m ready to help the Mets."
During the sixth inning of that game, with runners on second and third, and only one out, his manager walked to the mound ready to pull him out of the game, but Pedro wouldn’t have any of that. He was then asked to walk the cleanup hitter and set up the double play. Pedro shook off that suggestion and said, ‘this is my test" and convinced his manager to let him handle things the "Pedro way."
The inning ended just like so many other innings have, when Pedro was in danger in the past. He struck out the next batter on three pitches and ended the inning and his outing with a weak popup for the final out. Simply put, it was vintage Pedro.
He has not allowed an earned run in his last two rehab starts, and even though he feels he belongs, Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya want him to do it one more time before joining the big league team.
He is expected to throw up to 100 pitches in his final and biggest challenge yet.
Expect him to continue blowing away each and every obstacle, just as he has throughout his long and extraordinary career.
That’s the Pedro Way.