Monday, September 10, 2007

Pedro remains unbeaten; Cyclones win

On Saturday, Tom Glavine amazed me with his performance. Yesterday, Pedro Martinez pitched almost as well. He won his second game in a row, outpitching Roy Oswalt in the process.

Martinez started slowly. It took seven pitches to get the first batter, Hunter Pence, to ground out. His last pitch was his fastest at 90 mph. Though he's not the power pitcher he was in his prime, he can still put some zip into one when he has to.

It took him 15 more pitches to get the final two outs.

In his five-inning stint, Martinez threw a lot of pitchers, 92, of which 65 (71%) were strikes, but limited the Astros to six hits, a walk, and no runs. In his final inning, he'd lost a bit off his fastball, but not much — his fastest had slowed to 87 mph. But then, in the September heat, fatigue must have settled into his body.

Fortunately, the Mets bullpen backed him up.

Of the four relievers, only Guillermo Mota allowed a run to cross the plate on a leadoff home run, but then he's not having a good season. His ERA is 5.82. He's not the same pitcher that he was last season with the Mets before his suspension for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

In Staten Island, three relief pitchers and first baseman Lucas Duda's bat propelled the Cyclones to victory in their playoff opener against the Staten Island Yankees. The Cyclones' starting catcher was the Mets Ramon Castro, who's rehabbing with Brooklyn. Against Single-A pitching, Castro went 2-3. Duda drove in Castro with his sixth-inning home run. Brooklyn won 8-4.

After Stephen Clyne and Will Morgan each pitched two innings of scoreless ball, Eddie Kunz worked the final frame, yielding the only walk allowed by Cyclones' pitchers while also preventing any from crossing the plate. During his last 10 regular-season appearance, Kunz had a 5.23 ERA; however, it's an inflated ERA, which is easier to have when you've pitch only 10.1 innings if you have just one bad outing. That happened to Kunz on August 27 when he gave up four runs in two thirds of an inning. In six of them he held the opponent scoreless and in two only allowed one run in each.

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