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April 7 - Pedro Thrown for a Loop

For eight innings in Cincinnati on Monday, they looked like the New Mets.  In the ninth, though, they were
the Mets I
kNew.

After a shaky first inning, in which he allowed a three-run homerun to Adam Dunn before striking out Joe
Randa to end the frame [remember those names], Pedro Martinez mowed the Reds down over six
innings. Twelve of his first fifteen outs were strikeouts.

The Mets even got Pedro the lead with three runs in the seventh inning when Carlos Beltran [3-5 with a
single, double, and home run] drove in the lead run and Cliff Floyd went yard with Mike Piazza on board.

Pedro though was done after 103 pitches and the 100th double-digit strikeout game of his career.  Only
three others have struck out at least ten more often than Pedro, and all three of them pitched in New
York at one time or another: Randy, Nolan and Roger. [You can be so informal in a blog, can’t you?]  It
was the first time a Met pitcher had ever struck out at least ten batters on Opening Day.

Manny Aybar gave a run back in the seventh but Dae-Sung Koo, who has pitched twelve big league
seasons in the Far East but is technically the Mets’ only rookie, made the Reds look foolish in the eighth.

That left it up to Braden Looper, who gave up a soft hit to Austin Kearns before Dunn’s second home run
of the game took away Pedro’s win and Randa’s drive over the fence in left took away the game.

It was a heartbreaking opening day loss for a team that has been at its best on Opening Day for three
and a half decades.  The Mets won a World Series before they won on Opening Day, but had won 27 of
35 openers before the Reds ninth inning heroics stole the game.

Martinez, 182-76 on his career, has the best winning percentage of any pitcher with 200 decisions in the
history of baseball at .705.    It should have been .707 but long-suffering Met fans just knew it couldn’t be
that easy.  Much like Tom Glavine’s chase to 300 wins, Martinez’ major league record was put in
jeopardy when he put pen to paper at Shea last December.

It was only the second time in Mets history that they’ve opened against the Reds.  In 1984, a neophyte
major league manager, also a former second baseman, sent a former Red Sox star to the mound.  Mike
Torrez was beaten into the Riverfront 8-1.  Maybe Davey Johnson knew then what Willie Randolph can
only hope now – that things will get better for the New Mets.

Unrelated Thoughts:

Shouldn’t the Stanley Cup Playoffs be opening tonight?  I know the Rangers aren’t involved, again, but
where’s the schedule.   Oh.  Thanks Mr. Bettman.  Thanks Mr. Goodenow.

Congrats and good luck to Suzyn Waldman, who will be alongside John Sterling this season on Yankee
radio.  This has to be a better listen than Sterling and Charley Steiner have been the past few seasons.  
Sterling, by the way, has a consecutive broadcast streak that would put Cal Ripken, Jr. to shame. He
claims to have not missed a broadcast since 1981.

The world could be upside down a year from now, when the unnamed Mets network takes air.  [I won’t
call it MES, but you might.]  Time Warner subscribers will see the game and if past history is any guide,
Cablevision subscribers likely won’t.  

If you have digital cable or satellite, but particularly if you don’t subscribe to MLB Extra Innings, make
some time either Thursday night at 10 or Friday/Saturday nights at 9:30 and check the listings for the
Dodger telecast with the legendary Vin Scully at the mic.  You can thank me later.