Pedro Martinez is on the shelf….again. For at least the next six weeks he will sit along side left fielder Moises Alou, backup catcher Ramon Castro, and setup man Duaner Sanchez. The trip to the disabled list is certainly no foreign place for the 36 year-old righty. It had to be expected at some juncture this season, just not as immediate as 57 pitches into the campaign. The unfortunate hamstring “tweak” has much of Queens on a direct course for suicide. May I ask why?
Surely the loss of Martinez depletes minimally the rejuvenated swagger that Johan Santana and the teams opening day win restored momentarily. Nevertheless, as I’ve stated in my previous blog, Pedro was the rotations number 2 starter only because of his name and his all around body of work. He is not the teams second best pitcher, and he is far too fragile too be hinged on as the teams second best.
Sitting on the disabled list for six weeks is not going to make or break the Mets championship aspirations at all in 2008. After all, as sickening as it is to walk down memory lane and reflect on it, this very same Mets team held a seven game cushion with seventeen games remaining on the defending NL East champion Phillies last September. Pedro started five games last season, and the team was still good enough to have what was supposed to be a comfortable lead. They were good enough in 2007 to be in a position to play meaningful October baseball, 2008 has certainly placed more effective bullets in their holster than they had at that time.
Contrary to 2007, the Mets posses the best pitcher in the game, and if there is any doubting him being just that, SNY.com will be glad to show you video highlights of his first start as a Met. Cheap plugs aside, Santana, along side Oliver Perez and John Maine, both coming off 15 win seasons and looking like they have gotten even better since, are a rock solid core.
Oliver Perez hurled six shutout innings in his first start of the season last night en route to a 13-0 Mets thrashing of the lowly Florida Marlins. More telling than the six scoreless frames or the eight strikeouts was the one solitary walk for the 26-year old south paw. Walks have been and always will be Ollie’s Achilles heel. If he can control his pitches in 2008, he will undoubtedly make the loss of Pedro less severe.
And than there is John Maine, who looked more like Cy Young this spring. He claimed that St.Lucie had him bored and admitted the hitters he was facing were no challenge to him. Experts far and wide have gone out to predict a possible 20 win season for the man dubbed as “Super Maine.” He will make his debut in Atlanta tomorrow night against Tim Hudson, who he had practically mirrored last season statistically.
Pedro going down is a blow to nothing more than the confidence of a recently demoralized fan base, if nothing else. The Mets offense and the ability of the rotations top three starters, and a well-rounded bullpen will be able to get the job done. Pedro hasn’t given the Mets anything when they’ve needed it through out his entire tenure with the club, their was no reason to believe he would now, and likewise, no reason they cannot get by without him. Besides, he should be back in six weeks.
Note from Joe D – We welcome back Matt and his keen insights on the Mets for another season. Look for his posts every Thursday.