Pedrorrific Lifts Mets Again - Leiter Crumples, 10-1

For the second time in six days, Pedro Martinez validated the front office decision to jettison Aging Al Leiter by outpitching him to give the Mets a victory. Imagine, after all, if the Marlins had Pedro and the Mets had been stuck with Senator Al. The mere thought induces nausea and vomitting.

Instead, our ace, who lifted us again after a loss and who did not have his own souvenir poncho night like Al Leiter did, (souvenir poncho??!) struck out eight and walked none, giving him 38 strikeouts and four walks in 29 innings. Just to underscore his control, whilst the rest of the Mets starting staff struggles to make 50% of their pitches for strikes, Pedro threw 88 pitches last night, 64 of them strikes in winning his second game of the season and lowering his ERA to 2.17.

On his souvenir poncho night, Leiter threw 82 pitches in only three innings of work, 42 for strikes, gave up 5 walks, eight earned runs, hit a batter and saw his ERA for the season rise to 5.66 and his record descend down to 0-2. It's almost as though he belongs on the Mets staff with that kind of control.

The other Marlin who was almost a Met, Carlos Delgado, went 0-2 with a strikeout and so far this season has had 17 at-bats against the Mets. In those 17 at-bats, he's had 4 hits for a .235 batting average, zero extra base hits and one RBI. He's hitting .354 against the rest of the NL.

Perhaps even more impressive or at least unexpected was the 7 run outburst in the second inning, the 10 hits and 10 runs that all came against Marlin pitching, which had given up no more than four runs in any of their first 15 games. The Mets knocked the Marlin's team ERA from 1.88 to 2.38, still the best in the major leagues. The Marlins staff, with the help of Senator Al of course, gave up a season-high nine walks, leading to five runs. The Mets’ second-inning eruption included three walks, two scratch hits, two other singles, two stolen bases by Cliff Floyd and Mientkiewicz’s slam.

Doug Mientkiewicz grand slam was his first career grand slam and his first grandslam in any competition since he hit one for the United States against South Korea in the 2000 Olympics. Here is the boxscore to that game which is interesting in that it allows you to see that some of his teammates were Adam Everett, Roy Oswalt, Ben Sheets, Pat Borders and Brad Wilkerson. In fact, Mank hit another game-winning homer against South Korea in the semi-finals as well. Not that it has anything to do with last night's game, just a little historical Olympic baseball tidbit.

The bullpen was aces again last night as Mike DeJean pitched a scoreless 8th and Heath Bell pitched a scoreless 9th. Wonder how long before the Free Heath Bell clan starts up a Heath Bell For Closer movement. It's worth noting that the last time Bradon Looper was demoted from closer to set-up man in the middle of the season was two years ago when he was the Marlin's closer and as we've noted herein before, that was the year the Marlins won the World Championship so, let's keep our fingers crossed.

Good News, Bad News Pitchers

It might not be too longer before we have a new pitcher to drive us mad with inconsistency. After warming up for 10 minutes, a process that included some long tossing, Benson threw 37 pitches -- 25 from the stretch, 12 with a windup -- without pain off the bullpen mound at Dolphins Stadium. He's still got a ways to go; another game-situation workout of 45-50 pitches and then real games of 3,4 and/or 5 inning outings before he will be ready to actually take the mound for the Mets in real life and frankly, who knows where he'll be by then having missed all of the season to date, but at least it's another live arm and if he's anywhere near Spring Training form, a live arm that can pitch victories.

On the other hand, Kaz Ishii cut short his throwing session on the side Thursday because of soreness on his left side. He’ll be examined by a doctor Friday but said he might still make his scheduled start Saturday against Washington.

If they start talking about just a "normal twinge" or other equally bromidic rubbish, watch out.


Tom Glavine (0-2, 5.17 ERA ) flew back to New York on Thursday night to be in position to open the Mets' three-game series against the tied-for-first-place Washington Nationals on Friday night. He'll face Esteban Loaiza (0-0, 4.58 ERA). It's the first time the Mets will face the Nationals. The Nats and Marlins are co-leaders of the NL East and the Braves, Mets and Phillies are all tied for third, one game back.

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