Somehow, I managed not to be distracted by the team’s sweep of the Braves, and kept myself focused on the one event of true importance looming in the Met-a-verse: the imminent return of the Pedro. Monday will mark the end of instability in the Mets rotation; it will be the end of overusing the bull-pen; also, it will be the end of any shortcomings of younger players due to a lack of proven, veteran leadership-- for on Monday, Pedro Martinez will re-join the Mets. More than the incidental sweep of the once rival Braves, the second coming of Pedro should silence any doubts about the team raised by the disastrous series in Philadelphia. When examining the Mets chances in the NL East, relative to the Philies, there is only one truly important question: which team has Pedro Martinez?... sorry Philly.
Times like this allow you to appreciate what a truly valuable player El Duque is: a more durable pitcher would have probably been available to make his start, causing a minor logjam in the rotation; fortunately, El Duque was ready to save the already overtaxed decision-making-ability of the management, and helpfully developed a minor injury.
As for how the actual second coming of Pedro goes, if the results of this first start are somewhat inconclusive, well, you heard it here first. Look to see ‘flashes of the old Pedro’ mixed in with periods of being completely hittable. In fact, I would not be surprised if this flashes/hittable dichotomy remains a feature of all of Martinez’ future starts—leaving Met fans anxious come the post-season, should the team make it, but with the tantalizing possibility represented in these flashes still dangled in front of them. As for today, I think that Willie Randolph’s best bet is to go with his defensive outfield, and count on Met’s pitchers ability to induce batters to fly out to a diving Endy Chavez.