In case anyone had any doubts, Pedro Martinez over Al Leiter was the way for the Mets to go.
Granted, this was only one game, but Leiter’s performance was so poor, even he couldn’t come up with one decent excuse.
And who was it who said he’d never help the Mets again?
It may be an inning or 200 early to start speculating on trophies, but it’s still a nice time to start blowing up the myths.
Myth No. 1: He’s not nearly the same pitcher since he doesn’t throw 97 mph anymore.
Reality: Maybe he’s not exactly the same pitcher, but he can be every bit as good. He mixed four pitches at countless speeds, making the Marlins consistently look foolish. He rarely cracked 92 mph, yet overwhelmed the Marlins.
Myth No. 2: He can’t pitch effectively on four days rest anymore.
Reality: It’s true his ERA was nearly two runs higher in those circumstances last year, so maybe there’s some validity there. But this was his first start on four days rest this season and he was at his best, striking out eight Marlins and allowing three hits and no walks in seven innings.
Myth No. 3. He’s a six-inning pitcher who’ll drain the bullpen.
Reality: When he was removed after seven innings, he was making the Marlins look silly. He certainly is no drain. When he left, he had pitched 29 innings, tied for the league lead with Houston’s Roy Oswalt, a horse.
Martinez smiled when he was asked about the six-inning rap. But you could tell he wasn’t always smiling about it.
“You guys understand what negotiations are all about. I came along in 1990, but I understand what negotiations are all about,” he said.
“That was pretty much a campaign, driven by a couple bad reporters willing to trade their professionalism for good credit on the team or getting more interviews. I don’t have anything to prove.”
He ended his rant with a grin and a quip.
“Not bad for a guy who couldn’t pitch five innings.”
Though he pitched seven, he could have gone all night. Rather than a drain on the pen, he’s a benefit to it. Willie Randolph removed Martinez not because he was tiring but to get Mike DeJean and Heath Bell a little work and to ensure that Martinez would be fresh for Atlanta.
The Mets are leading the Nationals 2-0 after 3 and a half innings tonight at Shea, giving Tom Glavine a lead by scoring twice on infield outs in the 3rd. New York’s Doug Mientkiewicz was gunned down by DC’s J.J. Davis, trying to score on a David Wright liner to left to end the same inning. The New Mets (aka “The Mets”) will commemorate Black History Night later in the evening when Fran Healy recites Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech during the 7th inning stretch. Said oration will not be telecast or heard over the radio, but we’re told Fran is very excited.