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Game Thread: New York Mets at Washington Nationals - 2008 Game of 150 of 162. "Who Here Thinks Pedro Hits Dukes?"

On The Hill...

New York Mets' starter Pedro Martinez almost sounds like he means it, (though it is truly hard to judge tone in print), when the Mets' 36-year-old right-hander tells AP Baseball writer Mike Fitzpatrick, as quoted by Mr. Fitzpatrick, in his article entitled, "Braves-Mets game postponed by rain", that he's alright with his scheduled start on Saturday (this past weekend) being moved to the first game of the final series of the season in DC tonight against the Nationals, or as Mr. Martinez puts it:

"'I prefer to pitch when I was supposed to pitch. But given the current situation, I will pitch when it is more convenient to the team. I am a team player,' he (Martinez) said. 'Makes sense to me. I don’t have a problem.'”

(ed. note - "I said, almost sounds like he means it...")

The "Team Player" Pedro Martinez, a former Montreal Expo, claimed the first of his three Cy Young awards as an Expos' starter in 1997, when the then-25-year old Martinez went (17-8) in 31 starts with a 1.90 ERA in 241.1 IP. The next season, Pedro Martinez was pitching for the Boston Red Sox, traded in return for current NY Yankees' favorite, Carl Pavano, and former Expo/Nationals pitcher Tony Armas, who at the time was known as Tony Armas Jr., though he wasn't really a Jr., because, his father's name was...uh actually, forget it, long story...

...In Newark Star-Ledger sports writer Jeremy Cothran's "Mets Notebook" column note on Pedro Martinez's start being pushed back, printed in Sunday's Ledger, Mr. Cothran quotes the Mets' Manager Jerry Manuel, who explains that the extra rest for Martinez can only help:

"'Anytime you can give him an extra day here or there, it benefits him more than hurts him,' Manuel said. 'It's a good thing for him.'"

In Mr. Cothran's opinion, Pedro Martinez's last start against Philadelphia has raised some questions, as Mr. Cothran writes:

"Lately, Martinez has not looked like a reliable option in the rotation. A few fans booed him after his last start against the Phillies, which saw Martinez surrender six runs in just four innings."

Is Washington a good team for Pedro to get back on track pitching against?...In 7 starts and 9 relief appearances against the franchise, Martinez is 5-2 with 1 save, and a 2.40 ERA in 56.1 IP, over which he's allowed 42 hits, 15 ER's, 2 HR's and 18 walks with 62 K's, a 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and .205 BAA...Pedro's start tonight, (somewhat amazingly for a pitcher on a divisional rival), will be his first against Washington since April of 2006, when he faced the Nationals twice in the first two weeks of the season, beating them both times, and allowing 7 hits, 5 ER, 2 HR's and 6 walks with 9 K's in 13.0 innings.

Pedro's opponent on the mound tonight, DC lefty John "Cool Hand" Lannan is (0-2) in 4 starts against New York in his first two seasons in the Majors, having faced the Mets once and lost last season, surrendering 8 hits and 5 ER in 5.2 IP of a 7-4 NY win. In 3 starts this season, Lannan's been hit 14 times in 11.2 IP, allowing 10 runs, 8 earned, 2 HR's and 5 walks, while striking out a total of 15 Mets' batters, 11 of which came in a losing effort against NY back on April 17, which may well have been the best "Cool Hand" Lannan moment of '08?

(ed. note - "Any other candidates For Best "Cool Hand" Lannan moments? The back to back shutouts of the Braves and Cubs over the 14.0 scoreless innings Lannan threw on Aprill 22nd & 27th? The 7.1 inning, 4-hit, 1-run effort in a win over the Orioles on May 18th?")

Lannan's (3-4) in his last 10 outings, with Washington 3-7 over the same stretch. After beating the Cubs and Dodgers in two-straight starts to end the month of August, Lannan's (0-1) in 2 September starts, throwing 6.0 innings and allowing just 4 hits in a shutout loss to the Phillies, before being chased after only 3.0 innings by the same Mets Lannan faces tonight, who lit the 23-year-old lefty up for 8 hits, 5 runs and 2 HR's last week in Shea.

Nationals' #'s Against The "Team Player" Pedro Martinez...

Cristian Guzman - 7 for 21, .333 AVG, 3 2B, 7 K's, 1 SB.

Willie Harris - 2 for 3, .667 AVG.

Dmitri Young - 5 for 16, .313 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 6 K's.

Ryan Zimmerman - 0 for 6, .000 AVG, 3 K's.

The "Hated Mets" Against John "Cool Hand" Lannan...

Luis Castillo - 2 for 5, .400 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

Ryan Church - 4 for 9, .449 AVG, 2 2B's, 2 HR's, 5 RBI's.

Carlos Delgado - 3 for 7, .429 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

Damion Easley - 3 for 6, .500 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's.

Jose Reyes - 5 for 12, .417 AVG, 1 2B.

David Wright - 4 for 12, .333 AVG, 2 2B's, 2 RBI's.

And paraphrase Tom Hanks as G.H. Dorr, Ph. D (Yes, as in Fudd) in the Coen Brother's remake of the "Ladykillers", why not continue to, "...flog a horse that if not at this point dead is in mortal danger of expirin'," and just give everyone here a reminder of where my personal animosity towards one Pedro Martinez has its origins...

Reason #5 of 5 Reasons Why YOU Can STILL Hate THE METS!!!:

5. What the Mets did to Jose Guillen. (An Argument in Six Parts).

Which, if you've just read it, is what leads me to believe, and predict here...that Pedro Martinez will hit Elijah Dukes at some point this evening...You heard it here first...if it ends up being true...if not I'll just erase this after the fact...

For A Mets' Fans' Perspective, Check Out:

Matthew Cerrone's MetsBlog

Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...

The first of four against New York left on the 2008 schedule gets underway at 7:10 pm EST in DC's Nationals Park. Pedro vs "Cool Hand". Mets vs Nationals. Dukes vs The Mets and All Their Fans...Please, DC Faithful overwhelm those annoying, "Let's Go Mets, UGH!", and "Jose, JoseJoseJose!" cheers with the Nationals' official team cheer**:

"Let's Go Nats Go!!"

Who's Watching The Nationals??? Nietzsche wouldn't approve, but let's knock NY out of the postseason...Who's Watching The Nationals?

(ed. note- ** = "Let's Go Nats Go!! Is Not Really Nationals' 'official team cheer.'")