Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Belated Brewers recap

The big story of this past weekend's series against the Brewers was easily Nelson Figueroa's season debut on Friday.

Born in Brooklyn, Figueroa grew up a Mets fan, and was drafted by the team in 1995, although he did not make it to the Majors with them. With a 4-10 career record, he last pitched in the Majors in September 2004, with his last win coming in August 2003. After traveling around the world, pitching in various different countries, Figueroa got a 2nd chance in the U.S. with the Mets. He was called up on the third day of the season, after Pedro Martinez went on the DL. After two relief appearances, he made his first start on Friday.

It was a long time coming, and he surely took advantage of the opportunity. His final line was 6 IP, 2 ER, 2 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, and of course, a win.

It was great to see the smiles on his face, with a dream coming true, and three years of work trying to get back to the Majors paying off. His family was in attendance, and SNY kept showing them cheering loudly for him. Nelson also gave a nice salute to them as he walked off the field after the 4-2 victory.

These moments are so wonderful, as it takes away from the daily grind of the long season, and gives the game a more personal feel. We're not just rooting for teams, we're not just rooting for players; we are rooting for people. This story was great, and congratulations to Nelson Figueroa.

Another big story of the series was Johan Santana, however this one was a bad story. Johan lost his previous start because the offense did not give him any support. Saturday, Johan lost his start because he pitched poorly. Obviously, he's not going to have a great start every time, and I can look past this one poor start. But it was pretty disheartening to watch.

Johan was removed from the game in the 7th after giving up a three-run HR, his third HR of the day. It wasn't all that bad of a day outside of the HRs, and two errors by David Wright certainly made his day harder. But the long balls were definitely troublesome, especially in his Shea debut.

After losing Game 2 5-3, the Mets would go on to lose the series with the Brewers winning 7-5 in one of the most aggravating losses I've ever seen. Oliver Perez was bad. After giving up 2 runs in the top of the 1st, the Mets would give him six runs over the first three innings, but then Perez gave the four run lead back in the 4th. He would be taken out in the 5th after allowing two baserunners that Jorge Sosa kept from scoring. However, Sosa would give up 2 runs in the 6th, and the Brewers added an unearned run in the 7th.

More frustrating than the pitching was the hitting, which is saying a lot considering they scored 7 runs. After getting 6 of them in the first three innings, the Mets would score just 1 run with 13 baserunners from the 4th to 8th innings. They hit into a double play in each of those 5 innings. The worst of it was in the 8th, facing the hated Guillermo Mota. The Mets started the inning with two singles to get runners on 1st and 3rd, but then Luis Castillo grounded into a double play, taking himself out at first followed by the over-aggressive Brady Clark at home. The next two hitters would walk to load the bases, but Delgado would pop out to end the inning. Eric Gagne, who has been terrible so far this season, earned his second save of the series with a 1-2-3 9th.

I was pretty furious by the end of that 8th inning. Quite often I get angry, annoyed, or disappointed by the team, but I don't remember ever boiling for so long. But the season continues on.

Congratulations to David Wright for his 100th career home run.

The Brewers bats were relentless with 14 runs with 3 home runs in their two victories. They have quite a dangerous, powerful lineup, although their pitching staff is certainly questionable. I didn't get too good of a read on the team outside of that, but I'm thankful that there's only one more series with them.

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