Mets Game 9: Win Over Brewers

Mets 4 Brewers 2

Hometown boy Nelson Figueroa made good in his Shea debut!

Figgy pitched six strong innings, earning his first MLB win in five years. He gave up two hits, two walks, and two earned runs, while striking out six in an impressive performance. He was perfect through the first four innings, mixing up an array of breaking pitches and changeups to keep the Brew Crew off balance. He was far from overpowering, but did an outstanding job of dropping in overhand curves mixed with sinking fastballs at several speeds. This is what you call “crafty”.

While Figgy was mowing down the Milwaukee batters, the Mets offense gave him just enough for a victory, thanks to a three-run fourth. David Wright singled to lead off the inning and Carlos Beltran followed with a walk. Then Carlos Delgado rapped a single to right under the glove of Prince Fielder to score Wright, and Damion Easley popped a fly ball to left to score Beltran. A passed ball (really, though, it should have been ruled a wild pitch) chased Delgado to second, and Ryan Church absolutely blistered a ball up the middle that couldn’t score Delgado because it was hit too hard. No matter, because Raul Casanova ripped a liner into left that scored Delgado for the third run of the inning and game.

Miraculously, the Mets bulllpen held up Figgy’s lead, pitching three hitless inning of relief. Billy Wagner earned his first save of the year while expending only 7 pitches.


If Figgy can give us six innings with only two runs every time out, then we’ve found a #4 starter — never mind a #5.

Adding to the story was the start by Raul Casanova, who was originally drafted by the MEts in 1990 (!). Yes he has some MLB experience, but it took him 18 years to start a game behind the dish with the Mets. Wow.

Isn’t Ryan Church supposed to have problems with lefties?

Rumor has it that Nelson Figueroa — who dropped a beautiful bunt and beat it out for a hit in the fourth — is a switch-hitter. We’ll see, perhaps, next time.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten April 12, 2008 at 4:57 am
    Kudos to Willie for going with Heilman the night after he coughed up that lead against the Phillthies. And kudos to Heilman for setting them down without incident (2Ks for him).

    Agree with the #4 over the #5, too. Assuming that Big Pelf keeps it up, when Pedro does come back, who goes back to the Big Easy? I’m thinking that it’ll be Pelf.

  2. isuzudude April 12, 2008 at 9:25 am
    Yeah, I definitely think it’ll be Pelfrey, SK. Originally he was supposed to get at least a half season’s worth of ‘maturation’ at the triple-A level this year, but those plans changed when both Duque and Pedro went on the shelf. You have to figure, though, that when Pedro declares himself fit, it will be Pelfrey being demoted, no matter how well he might be pitching at the time. Remember, too, that the Mets now have Claudio Vargas in the mix, and I don’t think he was brought onboard just to throw 150 innings for New Orleans. Most likely scenario is that Figueroa, great story and all aside, will not keep this up. And after 2 or 3 starts in which the competition figures him out rather quickly, he’ll be demoted (either to the pen or to the minors) and we’ll see Vargas for the indefinite future. Which means it’s Pelfrey’s spot most likely in jeopardy when (or if) Pedro is healthy again.

    Not to rain on Figueroa’s parade or anything, but he got A LOT of good strike calls from the home plate ump yesterday. I’d say at least 3 of his called strike-three strikeouts were well off the plate, and I don’t think he’ll be getting such favorable calls over the duration of his time with the Mets. I’ll take it while it’s given to him, but I’m not expecting 6 innings of 2 run ball every time out to the mound for Figueroa.

    I was kind of surprised to see Heilman work the 8th. Although I’m very relieved he made quick work of the Brewers, I thought Willie would have given him at least one day off to collect his thoughts. The question then would have been who works the 8th trying to protect a 1-run lead, and I was short on answers (I most heavily considered Muniz…guess it’s a good thing I’m not managing). I have to say, though, I fully expect Heilman to get the day off today, unless for extra inning duty. It’s time to see who else we can trust in a close-and-late spot.

    Also, truth be told about Church: he’s still only hitting .231 (3 for 13) against lefties in the early goings. He’s done better than I expected, though. But in the long run, I’m still not expecting much from Church in lefty-on-lefty matchups. Perhaps when Alou comes back, Pagan will have a role on the team after all? I’m just saying, the way Angel is swinging the bat, would you rather see him in RF vs. Cole Hamels or Church?

  3. joe April 12, 2008 at 10:11 am
    I think it’s a little early to be assuming anything … let’s see what happens in the next few weeks. But I like the optimism!
  4. joe April 12, 2008 at 11:13 am
    ‘dude, though we’re all feeling shiny and happy right now about Figgy, I have to agree that he was the beneficiary of a wide strike zone. But then, so was Manny Parra, and Parra wasn’t able to take advantage to the same degree. From when I watched him live in PSL, I was impressed with the way Figgy changed speeds on every pitch and mixed in that big curve. There will be days when a tight strike zone could be his doom, but I can see him doing OK for a while … at least until everyone has a scouting report and video on him.

    Also with you on Heilman. Yes he did well, but Willie’s stubbornness re: getting a scorned reliever right back out there is getting a little old. It works sometimes, but he does it too much, IMHO. And I want to know why Heilman has to pitch every single time the Mets have a chance to win? Heilman and Sosa are on pace to appear in 108 games this year … does that make any sense at all? Willie does this every year, and then can’t understand why his bullpen falters as the season wears on.

    Pagan as a platoon partner with Church is a possibility. Although Pagan is tearing it up from the right side, over his career he’s hit only in the .230s a a righty … though with more power. Then again, he only has about 160 plate appearances from the right side, so perhaps it’s not a good sample.