My Zisk colleague Mike nailed it on the head earlier today--I liked Al Leiter and John Franco, but I'm glad they're gone. Pedro Martinez is definitely an upgrade, even with Leiter matching him inning by innning this afternoon, and it seems like this team has a spark of personality missing the past few years. I'm very happy that Martinez's three starts so far have proven me wrong--signing the ex-Red Sox ace was a genius move. It's obvious that this team feels it can win every time he pitches, and that feeling might start carrying over to when the other four pitchers take the hill. (And hopefully that magical arm won't fall off at somepoint.) It's obvious that the newcomers beside Pedro (Miguel Cairo, Ramon Castro, Chris Woodward) have a never give up attitude. Late inning combacks are becoming quite routine for this six-in-a-row team. Is it still to early to say I'm optimistic? And to say that maybe Mike Piazza is starting to get into a groove? For the second day in a row he came up with a clutch hit, making up for the wild pitch (I think it was a passed ball) that gave the Marlins a run. If Piazza gets hot, this team could really get on a roll for the rest of this month. Manager Willie Randolph continues to impress me, as he keeps pushing the right "small ball" buttions. I also like the fact that he shows confidence in his backup catcher Castro by putting him in often to steal some extra rest for Piazza whenever possible. When the backup can deliver a game-winning hit like today, it gets easier to put him in each game in the late innings.
On the minus side, is Braden Looper okay? I'll try to ignore his meltdown today and hope he gets it back on track soon.