In the two openers I watched, two pitchers caught my attention. One pitches for the Mets: Francisco Rodriguez. One doesn't because of Minaya's penny-pinching: Derek Lowe. Rodriguez could make a big difference this year, closing out games the way a closer's expected to. Lowe will make a big difference too this year. Unfortunately, it will be for the Braves.
Last night, Lowe dominated the Phillies, holding them to two hits over eight innings. Further, he didn't walk a batter.
After Santana, none of the Mets other starters can compare with Lowe. He exhibited the control, stuff, and smarts that would have made this season's Mets hard to beat. And though he's 35 years old, I'd take him in my rotation over Maine, Pelfrey, Perez, and Hernandez in an instant.
Here's why: The current Phillies who have faced Lowe are only hitting .168 against him. Ryan Howard's average against Lowe is .105; Shane Victorino's is .125; and Jason Werth's is .143. And Howard has never homered off Lowe.
Let's hope that Minaya's mistake doesn't come back to haunt the Mets.