By Mike Steffanos
Game 9: Mets 4 - Brewers 2
I'm going to have to be brief here, as it's late and I'll be going to tomorrow's game. From where I live in Connecticut it's a long trip.
The recent history of the Mets hasn't included starting pitchers who come from nowhere to have great seasons. (Think George Stone in 1973) Mets fans have come to dread those fill-in starts by the Jose Limas, Brian Lawrences, Chan Ho Parks and Alay Solers of the world. Other than Jorge Sosa's nice run last season before the league caught back up to him, fill-in starter usually spell disaster for the Mets.
I don't know about you, but I was really rooting for Nelson Figueroa to buck that trend and shine in front of his family and half the borough of Brooklyn at Shea Stadium. His 6-inning mini-gem was a nice story in a spring that has seen more than its share of sore quads, hammies, knees and elbows.
Home plate umpire was calling a generous strike zone, particularly just off the outside corner, and Figueroa took full advantage. He was aggressive and sharp, and made it look rather easy until the last couple of innings. I felt myself choke up a little at the end when Billy Wagner nailed the game down and Figueroa got his win.
The offense still wasn't much to write home about, but they had their moments. Angel Pagan is making a case to nickname Moises Alou "Wally Pip." Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but he his 10 RBI lead the team, as does his .387 AVG and .516 SLG. On a team that has been struggling for runs he's been worth a couple of wins already.
You probably know by now that Jose Reyes left the game with a tight left hamstring. If he misses a couple of games and relaxes a little, that wouldn't be the worst thing to my mind. I just hope it's a very minor problem.
Nice bounce-back inning by Heilman.
This three game winning streak has put the Mets back on the right side of .500 at 5-4. Hopefully Johan Santana can keep things going tomorrow against the tough Ben Sheets.