You can't actually believe that the Mets were counting on Pedro Martinez for the postseason, can you? Omar Minaya's announcement on Thursday that Pedro had a torn tendon in his left calf and would not pitch again this year, only confirmed what everyone had to know. There's no way the Mets were not fully prepared to go the playoffs without Pedro; not planning for his potential absence, but real certain that he wouldn't be there.
We're disappointed that Pedro won't pitch, for sure. The entertainment factor that goes out of the games he does pitch and the post-games when he doesn't will reduce some of the must-watch factor of the playoffs. Oh, we'll be watching and we'll be rooting but it's definitely less interesting. And doesn't El Duque have the knack of popping up in the most interesting places?
The absence of Pedro just about completes a long, long list of pitching absences and mysteries as baseball and all those Fantasy leagues head to the final weekend.
Among the mysteries is this: Can any pitcher for the Cardinals win ONE game before the Redbirds' lead over the Astros completely disappears. Tonight the Cards must feel real comforted with Jeff Weaver on the mound against the Brewers. And their pursuers have the Rocket going against the Braves. We could be looking at a new NL Central leader by the end of the day. Now, no one could have believed this was possible two weeks ago. Sure the Cards were stumbling along to the finish line, but this collapse is amazing.
The biggest problem that Randy Johnson's balky back presents for the Yankees is that it means their 2006 ace Chien-Ming Wang may have to face baseball's 21st Century ace Johan Santana in a playoff opener. The Yanks have done fine against the Twins in past playoffs as Santana wins the opener and the Yankees win the rest. It may not be so easy this time around. The Yanks should be hoping that the Tigers are their first-round opponent.
In looking over all the definite and potential playoff teams today, the Astros have their pitching in the best shape--Clemens, Oswalt, Pettitte to start and a bullpen full with healthy if uncertain arms. There's just one problem--they have to get there.