Pedro tries to bounce back in rubber match

Originally Published: May 22, 2005
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

• 1:10: The Mets' Pedro Martinez pitches the rubber match against the Yankees with his repaired right hip -- or is the right hip still a problem? Radar gun operators will be focusing on his velocity, and whether he's throwing 90-93 mph, rather than 85-88. Carl Pavano, who shut out the Mariners in his last outing, throws for the Yankees.

• 2:05: Roy Oswalt throws against the Texas Rangers. The goal, at this point, is for the Astros to hold Texas to less than eight homers, and to lose by fewer than 15 runs. Coming off the Rangers' home run performance of Saturday, it would be natural to say that the Most Likely Guy To Go Deep wears a Texas uniform -- Mark Teixeira, who has one homer in six previous at-bats against Oswalt. The Astros are looking to salvage a game and save face today.

Johan Santana
Starting Pitcher
Minnesota Twins
Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
9 5 2 0 72 3.96
• 2:10: There's no crisis with Johan Santana, but Twins' fans would probably feel better if he pitched more effectively today, after a couple of rough outings. Wes Obermueller, who flirted with a no-hitter in his last outing, goes for the Brewers.

•2:20: The Best Pitching Matchup of the Day will be in Chicago, where Greg McCarthy -- the most coveted prospect in the Windy City -- makes his major-league debut, against a guy who was once the most coveted prospect, Mark Prior. Cubs need to win this game to avoid a sweep.

• 4:05: The Padres' winning streak is over, but they've got rookie Tim Stauffer throwing against Seattle's Aaron Sele, who has been pounded in two of his last three starts. This game is the Reverse Lock of the Day: All logic points to a Padres' victory, so Seattle will probably win.

• 4:10: The Angels go for a three-game sweep of the Dodgers, and they've got Paul Byrd on the mound against Derek Lowe.

Barry Zito
Starting Pitcher
Oakland Athletics
Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
9 1 4 0 34 5.53
• 8:05: Scouts from other teams will begin to circle like buzzards around Barry Zito, as they consider possible trade options. They will be wondering: What is the state of his curveball? Why is his first-pitch strike ratio so low? Is he worth the $7 million he is owed for next season, if we make a deal now? And, would Billy Beane be willing to deal the last member of The Big Three? The Oakland lefty pitches against San Francisco lefty Noah Lowry.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Saturday
The Good
The Chicago White Sox are 31-12 after beating the Cubs, and even if the White Sox somehow are overtaken by the Twins -- who are currently six games out -- consider that they are 9 games ahead of the Yankees and 6 games ahead of the Red Sox, if a five-team wildcard race were to emerge.

The Bad
The Cubs have fallen to eight games out of first place in the NL Central, and they are drifting behind potential wildcard competitors, too. It's still early, but the Cubs are 5 games behind Florida, 5 games behind Atlanta, and 6 games behind Arizona.

The Ugly
The Astros allowed eight homers to the Texas Rangers on Saturday, running their losing streak to four games. Only Colorado has a worse record than Houston in the NL.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," is available in paperback and can be ordered through HarperCollins.com.

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine