Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Energy Source

If the Mets needed any extra incentive to put their hitting shoes on last night, it was standing on the mound in Pac Bell SBC 3Com Zito AT&T Park at around 7:15pm PST, wearing a blue #45.

That would be Pedro Martinez, who returned from his hamstring injury with a flourish, pitching 6 solid, if uneven innings and even chipping in with a pair of hits, one of which plated a run in the midst of an 8-run rally that basically salted the game away.

It's no great secret that the Mets are light years better off with a healthy Pedro, even if he's not the same Pedro he used to be. What Pedro brings to the Mets goes far beyond what you'd see in the boxscore. Peter Gammons said the other night that Pedro gives the Mets their swagger back. Although that's not entirely true, what he does do is give you the sense that everybody's having fun out there, relaxing and playing their game behind him.
There are victories and there are victories where there's good vibes going on all around. Pedro's victories tend to be the good vibes victories, especially now, after he's come back from these varied injury problems. Again, Pedro can't blow anyone away, but he's re-invented himself as a master of deception, a demon on the mound who knows how to pitch and can adapt himself to any situation. But perhaps the most welcome sign of the game was seeing Pedro take the mound for a 6th inning, when it would have been very easy for him to come out of the game after 5 innings, 90 pitches and a 9-3 lead. But no. Pedro came back for the 6th, and with runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs, he struck out Brian Horwitz and Fred Lewis, and got Chas Bonnifusco to ground out to second to finish off with a flourish. 109 pitches for an evening where he answered a lot of questions.

Yeah, he's back. It might help us an awful lot.

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