Four years ago, Pedro Martinez made the Mets relevant again. After just beating back a nearly nine decade curse in Boston, Mr. Martinez and his first ballot hall of fame career arrived in Flushing. In 2005, he was good. He was subjected to bullpen meltdowns, much like Mr. Santana this year, and could have won close to 20 games. Instead, he won 15, and lost 8, all the while posting an impressive 2.80 ERA.
Today, the man they call "Petey" is hardly a shadow of himself. He has been downright awful. Tonight, the Mets will call on him to spin some magic one last time. Tonight, he needs to be the ace the Mets made him in late 2004, after he helped bury the curse.
Which Pedro will show up? There is no questioning the heart and desire of Pedro Martinez. He battled back last season after a tough injury, one that would have forced many to hang it up. But being Pedro Martinez, he was not ready to hang it up. He was one of the few bright spots during last years September disaster. This season, he has fanned the flame of the current Met meltdown.
Pedro needs to be big tonight. He needs to say the right things in the pre-game to get the Met fans excited to even show up to the ballpark tonight after last night's debacle. With inclement weather on the way coupled with a ripping-out-of-the-soul loss last night, it is very possible Shea will be half full at best. And who can blame the Met fan? They know the script. Get off of the Met fans case. The suffering the Met fan has endured the last two Septembers has been arguably the worst any fan has ever had to go through, at least in recent memory.
The organization was up in Buffalo earlier in the week patting itself on the back over signing the Buffalo Bisons to be their AAA team for the next two seasons. The Mets went on to lose that game that night. The Met organization is about to hand the architect of the collapse a four year contract extension on the brink of another September meltdown. If and when that happens, and the Mets miss October baseball yet again, the justification for firing Willie Randolph is lost.
But Mr. Minaya's butt can still be saved. If his crown jewel acquisition from when he first stepped onto the scene as Mets General Manager can turn back the clock for just one night and deliver, Minaya will deserve the four year extension. For all of his bad moves (the entire bullpen, Luis Castillo, Bannister for Burgos, Guillermo Mota, Moises Alou, etc.), he can be vindicated if a dominant Pedro Martinez turns back the clock and vaults the Mets into October baseball.
If Pedro is the Pedro of today, and not the Pedro of yesterday, Minaya will be as loved as former General Manager Steve Phillips. For one night, the Mets need Pedro Martinez to be the ace they once brought him here to be. If not, you can kiss the season goodbye. Which Pedro will be there tonight? In just a few hours, we will know.
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