Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 21, 2006
I don't really know what else to say at this point about the dire situation the Mets face in October if they can't get Pedro and Glavine healthy. Matt Cerrone has the grim outlook. But let's think about it this way: if the season ended today, the Mets would face the Reds in the NLDS, with the Cardinals facing the Dodgers. If Pedro but not Glavine is available, the matchups would be something like this:
Game 1: Pedro vs. Bronson Arroyo. Significant advantage: Mets.
Game 2: El Duque vs. Aaron Harang. Harang's been better two years running, but I'd feel OK about this matchup given the Mets' offense. Glavine vs. Harang would be much better.
Game 3: Trachsel vs. Eric Milton. Tie on your hittin' shoes, boys, this is gonna be a long night. Advantage Mets solely on the basis of their offense.
Game 4: Maine vs. ... Elizardo Ramirez? Kyle Lohse? Anyway, someone I would trust significantly less than John Maine.
Game 5: Pedro/Arroyo again.
How about the other two NL teams? The Cards have Carpenter, whose odds of staying healthy through October are similar to Pedro's. Beyond him, though, Mulder has been injured and ineffective, Jason Marquis has a 5.70 ERA and Jeff Suppan a 5.03 and Jeff Weaver 6.07 - none of those guys looks much better than Trachsel. Young Anthony Reyes, with less big-league experience than Maine, may be their #2, and their offense has all sorts of cavities.
The Dodgers are another story, with Brad Penny apparently healthy for the moment, Derek Lowe in a second-half groove, and Greg Maddux having righted the ship since arriving in LA, plus a good if likely unsustainable ERA from wild rookie Chad Billingsley (much like Maine and Reyes, Billingsley has all of 12 big-league starts to his name). Even Aaron Sele has, inexplicably, not been awful. I don't like the Dodgers' rotation all that much, and a healthy Pedro-Glavine would match the Mets up with them fairly well, but right now they are the only team on the NL playoff slate that really puts the Mets in a hole even if they go with Pedro + grab bag.
Of course, the World Series is another matter.
UPDATE: Of course, Oliver Perez flirting with a no-hitter in AAA is good news, and makes some of his peripheral stats at Norfolk halfway respectable, but I'm not ready yet to trust Perez with a significant assignment. On the other hand, the performance of Dave Williams underscores the wisdom of his acquisition - not that he will ever be better than mediocre, but he's the kind of guy it helps to have hanging around AAA when you are desperately short of starters and want to avoid Lima Time.