Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jorge Sosa? While fans of the Nationals are salivating over the recent performances of Shawn Hill and Jason Bergmann, fans of the New York Mets may have found a surprising pitching gem of their own, in the last couple of weeks: Jorge Sosa, who had shown only flashes of brilliance amidst a wildly inconsistent career that was not living up to early billing. The Mets gave Sosa a chance to win the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, and Sosa stunk the joint out. So, Sosa was sent down to New Orleans, where he pitched terrifically, and won his first four decisions. Then, El Duque came up lame, and the Mets needed a replacement. Unfortunately, Hernandez' injury came too late to prevent Sosa from making one of those starts. Chan Ho Park was called up to make one abysmal start, and then it was Sosa's turn.

Sosa is now 3-0 for the Mets. After waiting out a 3-hour rain delay (not much of a wait compared to the month Sosa spent in AAA ball), he pitched brilliantly tonight, carrying a one-hit shutout into the eighth inning, before finally allowing a run. He has been brilliant. In fact, as John Maine has begun to struggle a bit, Sosa has been the Mets most effective pitcher during the last three turns through the rotation. Mike Pelfrey, who beat out Sosa for the fifth starter's job, pitched unconvincingly, and has been sent back down. The Mets will need one more spot start before El Duque returns to the rotation, but Sosa looks like he's up for the duration.

In fact, if Sosa keeps pitching the way he has in his first three starts, the Mets will have a very tough decision to make later in the summer, should Pedro Martinez complete his comeback. Martinez is supposedly on track for a late July or August return to the rotation. It will be interesting to see how the Mets pare six starters down to five. It will also be incredibly ironic, given the fears that many fans and so-called experts had about the Mets' rotation. Anyone remember the talk in March? There was the old guy, Glavine, and four question marks (there were a lot of skeptics regarding Maine and Hernandez, and no one seemed to believe that Oliver Perez belonged). Come August, the Mets may have an embarrassment of riches.

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