SAN DIEGO -- The change of sequence in the Mets' starting rotation -- Victor Zambrano has been moved one up one day, ahead of Jae Seo, to pitch Friday night against the Dodgers -- suggests nothing other than the club wants to keep Zambrano on schedule to start every fifth day. It affords Seo an extra day's rest, something finesse pitchers usually don't prefer.
But Seo's presence in the rotation and the pending return of Steve Trachsel to the rotation next week do prompt some thoughts about what the Mets could do when they have six able starting pitchers: use all of them. It's not likely, and Mets manager Willie Randolph said Thursday he hadn't considered something so out of the ordinary. But there is precedent for it, of course, in the Mets' recent history.
Bobby Valentine used a six-man rotation late in the 1999 season after Rick Reed returned from an assignment on the disabled list. Reed, Al Leiter, Bobby Jones, Orel Hershiser, Kenny Rogers and Masato Yoshii were in the rotation at the same time as a means of affording Leiter and Hershiser additional rest between starts.
The Mets face similar circumstances now, with 48 games remaining and Pedro Martinez seemingly needing more time off between starts to refuel. Martinez has pitched 162 innings in his 23 starts, an average of slightly more than seven innings per start. If he makes nine more starts -- and he could make 10 -- with the same average, he will have pitched 225 innings, more at age 33 than he has in any regular season since 1998 and his third-highest regular-season total.
And should the Mets play in the postseason, he would be assured of at least one additional start.
Opposing teams are saying Martinez isn't throwing as hard as he did early in the season. So additional rest could be beneficial. Randolph's only comment -- opinion -- on the possibilty was this: "But we need Pedro to pitch. We still have to win games."
Mets history for Aug. 12: Willie Mays, in his final game at Candlestick Park, went hitless in four at-bats in the Mets' 4-1 loss on this date in 1973. ... The late John Milner hit a home run estimated to travel 480 feet feet that struck the right-field scoreboard at Shea to help the Mets beat the Dodgers, 3-1. ... And on this date in 1977, Mets second baseman Felix Millan and Pirates catcher Ed Ott, an immensely strong former scholastic wrestler, brawled at second base. Millan struck Ott with a ball in his hand, and Ott body-slammed Millan, who suffered a fractured collarbone and separated shoulder, virtually ending his Mets career. The Pirates swept a doubleheader that day.
On deck: The Mets' make their only visit this season to Dodger Stadium, home of the the best power pitcher's mound in the National League. It remains to be seen whether Zambrano will take advantage when he opposes Jeff Weaver on Friday night. Dwight Gooden loved that mound when he pitched for the Mets. In fact, a few years ago, he acknowledged feeling nostalgic whenever he saw a Mets telecast from Chavez Ravine.
Zambrano (6-9) surrendered five hits and six runs in eight innings Sunday night when he beat the Cubs. He was battered by the Dodgers for six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings in a loss at Shea on July 22. Weaver's 10-8 record reflects a victory in that game. He was scarcely more effective than Zambrano with five runs allowed in six innings.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.