Only the Mets could find a way to outscore their opponents twenty-four to seven over three games and come out feeling like losers. Yes, the Mets' offense thoroughly pounded what passes for major league pitching in the Florida Marlins organization. And yes, the Mets got a good first start from their big offseason acquisition and an even better one from their talented but inconsistent third starter. But who cares? Pedro's hurt again.
After making it though five fall starts, the whole offseason and all of Spring Training with his arm intact, Pedro Martinez was felled by a strained hamstring less than four innings into his 2008 season. He'll be out for at least a month and probably more. For the moment the task of replacing him will fall to Nelson Figueroa who, prior to tonight, hadn't pitched in the majors since 2004. Orlando Hernandez could help if he ever figures out how to throw the ball to the plate without his foot hurting him. And all of this is dependent on Mike Pelfrey pitching well enough to stay in the majors. Johan Santana, Oliver Perez and John Maine still make for a pretty formidable trio, but beyond them, the Mets' rotation is looking rather fragile.
Fortunately the Mets' offense looks capable of picking up some of the slack in the absence of dependable pitching. Every Met regular, aside from Carlos Delgado, had a good series with the bat. David Wright, with six hits including three doubles and one home run, and Carlos Beltran, with five doubles including one that would have been a home run if not for some overzealous umpiring, led the way. In total the Mets hit .330/.409/.486 in the three games. If they can keep up this success once they face a pitching staff whose total salaries are greater than what Santana will make this year, they should be in good shape.
The Mets (2-1) will take on slightly tougher competition starting Friday as they head to Atlanta for a weekend series against the Braves (1-2). John Maine (15-10, 3.91 in 2007), Mike Pelfrey (3-8, 5.57 in 2007) and Johan Santana (1-0, 2.57) will start for the Mets. Tim Hudson (0-0, 2.57), Tom Glavine (1/3 IP, 7 runs...um...I mean, 0-0, 1.80) and John Smoltz (14-8, 3.11) will go for Atlanta. This is, of course, assuming that none of them are forced to start on Thursday when scheduled starter Mike Hampton unexpectedly contracts polio during warmups.