Young Reyes taking on elder Pedro
Braves hoping to play NL East spoilers for Mets on FOX
When Pedro Martinez came to the Mets in 2005, the Braves owned the National League East. For 14 seasons through that year -- from the time Martinez pitched with the Expos to the Red Sox and back to the NL -- nobody else wore the Braves' crown.
But when the Mets face the Braves in the FOX Game of the Week at 3:55 p.m. ET on Saturday at Shea Stadium, the standings will not represent what has been and only what can be. The Mets can put distance between themselves and their main competition, the Phillies, and the Braves can amount to nothing more than spoilers with a record that is several games below .500.
For Martinez, his career with the Mets has also been about learning what he can do as opposed to what he used to do. In his last start Sunday, the 36-year-old marveled at Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer, who pitches at slow speeds and gets away with it, just like he used to more than 20 years ago.
Martinez's velocity has decreased to where he needs to be a corner-painter like Moyer, but Sunday wasn't his best display on how to mimic that. He surrendered six earned runs in four innings to the Phillies, and all he could do on Sunday was look ahead to his next start.
"I tried," Martinez said after the 6-2 loss. "That's all I can honestly say. I tried. I gave my best and my best wasn't good enough for [Sunday]. In five more days, I will try against someone else."
If the Mets are going to have to accomplish their goals, they will have to handle the Braves, who are the only division opponent they do not have a winning record against (7-9). Jo-Jo Reyes, who will face the Mets on Saturday, held the NL East's No. 1 team to two runs over six innings on Aug. 19, but the Braves ended up losing, 7-3, in the first game of a series sweep.
"Right now, in my career, I'm young, and I'm trying to get better," Reyes said of his approach this season. "As long as I keep my team in the game and put up quality starts, I'm going to be happy. That's all I'm worrying about right now."
Along with the Mets-Braves, other FOX regional games on Saturday include the Brewers at Phillies and the Tigers at White Sox.
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.