Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Meet the Mets

Besides getting to use unoriginal phrases as post names, getting to make unoriginal jokes about the size of Mr. Met's head when compared to a certain former Pirates slugger, and all other Mets related humor, this Mets series is kind of intriguing to me from another perspective, the pitching matchups.

Tonight we get Ian Snell vs. Pedro Martinez. Pedro has always been one of my absolute favorite non-Pirates. He was always the first guy I'd find a way to trade to the Buccos in my Dreamcast baseball seasons. I can't really put it into words, I've just always enjoy watching everything about the guy, the way he pitches, the way he carries himself on the mound, everything. He's a little older now and he can't quite reach back and bring the same heat he could in the Montreal/early Boston days, but he's still Pedro. He's succeeding this year by mixing things up, changing speeds on his fastball, and keeping hitters off guard. That's what makes this matchup so interesting, because I see a lot of Pedro in Ian Snell. Let's get this out of the way right off the bat, I'm not calling Ian Snell the next Pedro, I'm not expecting him to be the next Pedro, saying things like that aren't fair to anyone at all. But the first time I watched Snell pitch in the bigs, his mechanics reminded me a lot of Pedro. I suppose there's only so many ways that 5'11" 170 lb guys can get a baseball to the plate at 97 mph (Snell and Pedro are both listed at that height and weight). Snell also seems to have the same competitiveness that his counterpart on the mound tonight has. Not surprisingly, Snell tells Paul Meyer today that Pedro is one of his favorite all-time pitchers. Nonetheless, the Mets are not a pushover by any means and Snell is going to get his second stiff test in a row. This is a big start for Snell, he needs to manage to not get caught up in the hype of pitching against Pedro (not that I'm worried about that, he really seemed to feed off of the energy that came with starting against the Rocket at PNC last year) and see if he can reel off a third quality against a very good team start in a row. Sometimes when I watch Snell, I don't know what I'm seeing, sometimes I feel like we're seeing the tip of the iceberg of something great (last Friday is a good example). I guess we'll have another piece of the puzzle after tonight.

What makes things even more intriguing is that one of our own soft-tossing lefties (Maholm) will face off against the best soft-tossing lefty of this generation in game 2. Glavine's been having a bit of a resurgence this year after a few down years in NY (holy crap, is this really his fourth year out of Atlanta?), but he's certainly on the downslope of his career. Whereas I've always been a huge Pedro fan, I've never liked Glavine that much at all, probably the whole "Braves" things (though I've also always liked Maddux).

Though I'm not trying to draw any comparisons here, the next two days should be interesting to watch. Both games are going to feature similar (if it's fair to say anyone is similar to Glavine or Pedro, which really, it isn't) pitchers on opposite ends of their careers. Ian Snell and Paul Maholm are both going to get a chance to stare their best case scenario futures right in the eyes. It's kind of similar to the two starts Duke got against Maddux last year, in which he flourished. I'm not saying that in 15 years Ian Snell is going to be thought of as the next Pedro or Maholm will be viewed as the next Glavine, but that shouldn't make the next two days any less fun (assuming our guys pitch well, of course... and there's the difference, you can always assume Pedro and Glavine will pitch well, Snell and Maholm... not so much).