TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Tale of two pitchers.

Two pitchers, one the Mets didn’t want and one they’d love to have, will be on display today in the second round of the playoffs.

Pedro Martinez, whom the Mets cut ties with in an effort to get younger and move toward the future, will start Game 2 of the NLCS for Philadelphia against the Dodgers. John Lackey, the pitching prize of the free-agent market, starts for the Angels at Yankee Stadium.

MARTINEZ: Get the ball while Mets stay home.

MARTINEZ: Get the ball while Mets stay home.

If Martinez wins, it will send Philly home with a 2-0 games lead. If Lackey wins, he will give the home field advantage to the Angels.

The Mets are watching at home for the third straight season.

After a series of injuries the past few years, the Mets decided they could live without Martinez, 37, will make his first playoff appearance in five years against the Dodgers, the team in broke in with in 1992. Martinez made nine starts with the Phillies, going 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA.

He told me last year he thought he could still pitch again, and proved it this year in a limited capacity. Weary of the injuries, and confident Mike Pelfrey would progress and they’d finally get something out of Oliver Perez, the Mets said good-bye to Martinez, who did not want to come back in a limited role or with a limited contract.

If he will be content with a No. 5 slot, he’ll get some attention this winter. No, the Mets won’t be one of the teams, but he could stay in Philadelphia.

Martinez likes the team and it will be good again next summer.

Martinez hasn’t pitched since Sept. 30, but manager Charlie Manuel isn’t concerned, saying, “I think he knows how to pitch.’’

Martinez’s last playoff appearance was in 2004 with Boston, and one of the story lines today will be facing former Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez.

“Well, nobody can say I know how to pitch Manny.” Martinez said. “Manny is such a great hitter, and he’s someone that makes adjustments as he sees the game develop.”

The Angels are a team in a zone, having swept Boston in the Division Series. They’ll face CC Sabathia tonight at the Stadium.

LACKEY: On top of FA pitching list.

LACKEY: On top of FA pitching list.

The Angels know how to beat the Yankees, dispatching them from the playoffs twice since 2002. The teams split 10 games this year.

“I don’t know if you’re ever going to be able to measure yourself against an organization like the Yankees. It might take a century before you would get there,’’ Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “But I think our guys feel good at the way they go about their business, the way that they play the game hard, the way that they push the game.’’

But, it all begins with pitching, and tonight that is Lackey, who beat the Yankees in July when he gave up two runs in seven innings.

“I’m not going to get intimidated by anybody,” Lackey said.

Lackey is a bulldog type, he gives innings when he’s healthy, but he’s missed considerable time in each of the past two seasons. That will give the Mets pause as they were bitten all year by injuries. It would just be the franchise’s luck to sign him and have him go down.

Lackey leads a relatively thin free-agent market that includes Erik Bedard, Jon Garland, Andy Pettitte, Jose Contreras, Rich Harden, Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro and Randy Wolf.

There are some good names, but nobody outside of Lackey who could be called a No. 1.

44 thoughts on “TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Tale of two pitchers.

  1. John (1) Pedro makes baseball better for me – I’m so glad to see him back on the mound where he started – must be emotional for him, too.

  2. Annie (2): It probably was emotional to some degree, but Martinez has been so far removed from Los Angeles, and pitched there plenty of times since leaving the Dodgers.-JD

  3. Dodgers in the 1990s had Rookies of the Year five straight years plus Pedro Martinez (although some as Todd Holdsworth were iffy). They did very little with them. A lesson for Mets GM Jeff Wilpon on how even a good farm system can do little good if the people at the top are incompetent.

  4. I don’t understand that play – can you drop a ball out of your glove intentionally?

  5. John (9) Can you believe it? I’m in awe of this game by Pedro, and I give a lot of credit to Charley Manuel for his faith in the guy.

  6. Martinez has pitched very well today, but that does not erase the injury problems he had with the Mets the past two seasons. The Mets weren’t out of line to offer an incentive-laden contract considering the games he missed.-JD

  7. I wrote earlier today how Mets fans would love the Phillies if they played in Flushing. …. I didn’t mean their bullpen to be Metsian like, however.-JD

  8. I still think the Mets made the right decision.

    From what I read, Pedro wanted at least 5 mil a year to pitch for us. Yes we paid 13 for a pitcher that did not pitch for us, but Pedro has always been hurt as a Met and we watched for 2 straight years an old pitcher who wanted to pitch who was not able to stay on the field.

    The Phillies picked him up when they had no pitchers. They also got him for $1million and perhaps less. Not much of a gamble on their end.

  9. dave (22): Agreed. The Mets did the right thing with Pedro. Part of why he was so good this year was because there was no wear and tear.-JD

  10. I didn’t realize there was a game on.

    Still at work.

    Leaving now. will catch you guys later.

  11. Pedro Martinez pitched a gem here for the Phillies, but left before the eighth when Joe Torre’s guys scored two for the win.

    NLC Series tied, next game Sunday in Philly at 8:07 PM.

    Next here – Yankees vs. Angels at Yankee Stadium 7:57 PM start.

  12. FIRST INNING: Letting that pop-up fall is unforgivable. The Angels are usually so fundamentally sound. This inning is atypical for them.-JD

  13. John (27) Almost a typical first inning for the Yankees – Jeter and that hit to right field, then getting to third and home from there.

    You’re right the pop up was a gift to the Yankees.

  14. John (29) not sure what you’re looking for, but I thought the Angels just looked confused – didn’t see the Phillies bullpen.

  15. This game is settling down now, and I think it will be a long series between these two.

  16. This night and its’ victory belongs to Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia who pitched a strong solid game for his team.

    Final Score: Yankees 4, Angels 1

    Next ALC game tomorrow night at 7:57 PM

  17. 22. Please explain your comment that the Phillies picked Pedro up when they had no pitchers… Unlike the Mets, they did what you and most others with brains here bitch about the Mets for not doing, they picked him up for more depth. They had Happ, they had Moyer, they had Blanton they had they had Hamels. And they could have moved Park back to the rotation or called up Drabek or Kendrick. They wanted more DEPTH a concept that obviously doesn’t exist in Queens. And theyn they got more they got Lee. Yeah, right they didn’t have any pitching so they got Pedro out of total desperation. Well, maybe the Phils knew 2 months ahead of time that Moyer was going to get hurt… Maybe the real reason they signed Pedro is because they had professional scouts make the recommendation that he’s make them a little better. They didn’t use Jeffy Wilpon to make the baseball moves.

    And Delcso… Pedro didn’t pitch a complete game against the Mets.

  18. Harry (39)
    Thanks for reading the blog – and thanks for the kind words about Pedro.

    Yesterday was a day for two very different pitchers who are equally awesome on the mound.

    You have to love it.

  19. 39 Chiti- As usual you are spot on. I wish you were able to do a brain transplant with Mutt and Jeff.

  20. Its funny how People cant admit they were wrong about Pedro. He is proving them wrong every time he pitches. Obviously his past injuries are not bothering him anymore. I bet he will re up with the phils and remind us for years.

  21. 39

    if i remember correctly either the phillies pitchers were hurt or they were not performing.

    they went fishing. they picked up a player who no one wanted for a dime. this turned out to be a good move because he won a few games for them and pitched well by all accounts last night.

    i do not know why the mets did not do the same thing. it could be emotions on both sides.

    doesnt matter as pedro would not have saved the season.