The New York Mets sent a three-time Cy Young Award winner to the mound in their season opener and lost. Maybe a two-time winner can get them their first win of the season.
Although the Mets dropped their season opener 7-6 on Monday, spoling the major league managerial debut of Willie Randolph, it certainly wasn’t Pedro Martinez’s fault.
Martinez, signed to a four-year, $53 million deal in the offseason, was in line for the victory after allowing three runs and three hits with 12 strikeouts in six innings. After a pair of relievers gave up one run in two innings, Braden Looper was called on to protect a 6-4 lead in the ninth.
Looper’s performance overshadowed strong debuts by the Mets’ two biggest offseason acquisitions—Martinez and center fielder Carlos Beltran, who had three hits, including one of New York’s three home runs.
“I’ve been through this a lot,” said Looper, who had 29 saves in 34 chances last season. “I’ve definitely given up my share of whatever you want to call it. But on opening day, it stinks. Pedro pitched a great game. He struck out the world.”
Randa was playing in his first game with the Reds after spending the last six seasons with Kansas City.
“Pedro was on top of his game,” Randa said. “He was carving through us. He was unhittable. Once he was out of the game, there was a big sigh of relief on the bench. Crazy things happen on opening day.”
The Mets won’t mind if Glavine duplicated Martinez’s performance as the left-hander begins his 19th major league season and third with New York.
Although it wasn’t indicated in his win-loss total, Glavine was a much better pitcher in 2004 than 2003 as he lowered his ERA from 4.52 to 3.60. The left-hander has historically been a fast starter, going 44-20 with a 2.61 ERA in April.
As good as Martinez was Monday, striking out the Reds with regularity has become common for opposing pitchers. The Reds, who set a club record for strikeouts last season, fanned 16 times on Monday.