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Pedro vs. "New Pedro"

Game No. 3: Washington Nationals (1-1) at New York Mets (1-1), 7:10 pm; ESPN MASN, WTWP, XM 183

Ramon Ortiz (9-11, 5.36 in 2005) vs. Pedro Martinez (15-8, 2.82)

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Amazin' Avenue

Pregame notes:

  • Tonight's starter for the Nats, Ramon Ortiz, drew comparisons to tonight's starter for the Mets, Pedro Martinez, when Ortiz first came up with the Angels in 1999; Ortiz, like Martinez, was a small-framed native of the Dominican Republic with an electric fastball. Those comparisons haven't panned out, in part because his fastball had surprisingly little life, in part because he magically aged three years, and in part because he's been an uneven pitcher. Now, the comparison is a punchline. Ortiz gets his first shot to turn it around in a Nationals' uniform; it's his third in three years.
  • As for the genuine article, Martinez has been hobbled by "a troublesome toe on his right foot." Martinez was supposed to be assigned to a minor league tune-up start but refused, stating, ""I have no business in a Minor League game." He says he can make the necessary adjustments on-the-job. I wouldn't doubt him, for one.
  • We followed the Nats' budget all offseason, and they broke camp with an Opening Day payroll of $63 million and change, up $15 million from last season. The Mets have a payroll of just over $100 million. The Mets rank fifth; the Nats rank twentieth.
Nat at Bat: Alfonso Soriano. Monday, he was gunned down by Jose Reyes; Wednesday, he was shot down by Frank Robinson. I wasn't certain of this at the time---because I'm relegated to following this team by radio---so I didn't mention it last night. But reports that Soriano was pulled by Robinson after failing to run out a pop-up in the top of the sixth inning. Marlon Byrd replaced him in the field in the bottom half. Afterwards, Robinson said some stern things, and Soriano generally said the right things. The article notes that this is not the first time Soriano has been admonished for lack of hustle. On March 23, Soriano did the same thing, failing to run out a pop-up. Robinson lectured him gently at the time, but it would appear that this occurrence did not go as gently.