Inside Pitch: Pedro gets the M's

The Mets didn't set up their rotation to that Pedro Martinez would face the Seattle Mariners this weekend. But they are glad he is.

Martinez is 13-0 with a 1.30 ERA in 13 career starts against the Mariners. He will oppose poor Ryan Franklin (2-8) on Saturday night. Martinez is 7-1 with a 2.56 ERA and will be pitching on an extra day of rest.

"He owned us," said outfielder Mike Cameron, who played four seasons for the Mariners before signing with the Mets. "We couldn't do anything against Pedro. I'm glad I'm behind him this time."

The Mets will be playing at Safeco Field for the first time. Their only previous series against the Mariners was in 2003 at Shea Stadium. Seattle took two of three games.

"It'll be cool to go back there," Cameron said. "The fans were good to me there."

The series opens on Friday with Kazuhisa Ishii (1-5, 5.48) facing Seattle's Jamie Moyer (4-2, 4.80). It concludes Sunday with Tom Glavine pitching against Gil Meche.


  • If the Mets are going to emerge from their longest road trip of the season still contending in the National League East, they will have to play with significantly more passion than they showed Tuesday night.

    Oakland rookie Joe Blanton and two relievers held the Mets to four hits as they were beaten 5-0.

    "That's embarrassing," first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "Nothing against (Blanton) because he pitched a great game. But we have to do better than that."

    In the first meeting between the teams since the 1973 World Series, the Mets appeared half asleep as they lost for the fifth time in six games. They are back to .500 at 32-32.

    It was the fifth time the Mets have been shut out this season. Blanton (2-6) retired the first 14 batters he faced.

  • OF Mike Cameron walked into the visiting team clubhouse at McAfee Coliseum on Tuesday with a pronounced limp. His first stop was to the office of manager Willie Randolph to tell him he wouldn't be able to start in right field.

    "When I can't walk right I can't play," Cameron said. "I'm going to need a day or two."

    Cameron is a physical wreck. He dislocated his left ring finger on Sunday when he slid headfirst trying to steal a base. His knee pain is related to a strained quadriceps muscle. Cameron also has lingering discomfort in his surgically repaired left wrist.

  • LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (1-5, 5.48) remains in the rotation but won't pitch until Friday in Seattle. The left-hander will be working on six days' rest, giving him a chance to throw twice in the bullpen.

  • RHP Pedro Martinez will get a fifth day of rest before he faces Seattle on Saturday night. Martinez is 13-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his career against the Mariners.

  • OF Victor Diaz worked out at first base before the game Tuesday. After playing second and third early in his pro career, Diaz has gotten comfortable in the outfield and isn't eager to switch positions again.

    "If it gets me in the lineup, that's fine," said Diaz, who thinks he could handle first now given his range of experience.

    Manager Willie Randolph said, "We're just working him out there a little bit. Nothing's imminent."

  • The Mets didn't play on Monday. But they had a victory to celebrate.

    Plans are sketchy but New York City's hastily re-done Olympics bid includes plans to build a new stadium for the Mets whether the city gets the 2012 Games or not.

    The Mets have agreed to privately finance the construction of a 45,000-seat stadium that would open for baseball in 2008 or 2009. Such a facility would cost at least $600 million but the state would pay $160 million in infrastructure improvements in the area.

    If New York is awarded the Olympics, the stadium would be converted starting in 2011 to an 80,000-seat venue for track and field along with the opening and closing ceremonies.

    The stadium would then be converted back to a baseball-only facility once the Olympics have finished.

    Atlanta used a similar plan in 1996, although its Olympic Stadium was built for the Games then changed over for baseball. The Braves have played at Turner Field since.

    New York's Olympic organizers initially planned to build a stadium in Manhattan but state legislators shot down those plans. That opened the door for the Mets to get involved.

    "It's a great day for the franchise and for our fans," said Jeff Wilpon, the chief operating officer of the Mets. "My family is thrilled. This is what we've wanted to do."

    Wilpon said the stadium would resemble old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn on the outside and include the prerequisite luxury boxes and other amenities. Construction could start as early as next year.

    "It would be a first-class stadium," Wilpon said.

    That time needed to reconfigure the stadium after the Olympics would require the Mets to play part of the 2012 and 2013 seasons at Yankee Stadium.

    Shea Stadium, which opened in 1964, is one of the worst parks in the Major Leagues and has had little more than cosmetic improvements in recent seasons.

  • RHP Kris Benson has drawn a walk with the bases loaded in two straight games. The last time that happened for a pitcher was in 1995 when Mark Portugal did it.

  • RHP Pedro Martinez has a three-game hitting streak. That's impressive considering he snapped an 0-for-58 skid earlier this season.

  • RHP Danny Graves was added to the roster on Saturday after agreeing to a deal. The Mets are responsible for $210,000 on his contract for this season -- the prorated minimum. Cincinnati is responsible for the rest of his $6.25 million deal for 2005. Graves received a $5 million option for next season or a $500,000 buyout.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Home runs hit by Carlos Beltran in games not started by Pedro Martinez this season. He has hit seven in games Martinez has started.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I guess it's exciting when you're watching it. It's nerve-racking when you're running around there and can't see where the ball is coming from." -- INF Marlon Anderson on his inside-the-park home run Saturday night.

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