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The Fourteenth Inning Stretch

Mike SteffanosFriday, April 18, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Game 14: Mets 3 - Nationals 2 (14)

It would have been nice if the Mets first series sweep of the year was punctuated by timely and fundamentally sound situational hitting. Of course that wasn't the case, which is why I was still watching this game as the clock crept towards midnight. Still, it was nice to see the Mets rebound from a disappointing weekend with the Brewers and actually win their first home stand of the year (6-3).

It was a shame that one bad pitch to Nick Johnson cost Nelson Figueroa a chance at his second win with all of Brooklyn watching. I think it's safe to say that he's pitching over his head a little right now, but he's still been a nice find for a team that usually rolls snake eyes on fill-in starters.

The offense continues to run in fits and starts. Although he did tie the game in the eighth inning yesterday, Carlos Delgado has failed to keep up his promising start for the first 6 games (.375/.423/.542). Over his last 7 he is 3-25 with two singles and a double. His game-tying hit was his only one in his last 13 AB. Concerns about Delgado's declining skills aren't going to go away anytime soon. Of course, the Mets really don't have a viable alternative right now.

Solid work from the bullpen for 7 innings. Heilman and Wagner were perfect, Sanchez pitched a solid inning and two-thirds, and Joe Smith was sharp. Jorge Sosa poached the win with his two innings of work.

For all of work still to be done, I like this team a lot better than last year's in the early going. They're far from perfect, and they're certainly not dominating their opponents, but I like the approach better.

Of course, with Philly this weekend and then the Braves at home next, I think everyone wants to see them step up their level of play.

View Nelson Figueroa's Full Season Stats

Box Score

Comments (3)

Mike, What a game last night. Willie did the best he could, they just didn't have timely hitting. The only other thing he could have done was to pinch hit Santana for a pitcher in the right spot but I'm really not sure if he had that in mind. Wonder if Darling was thinking what I was. He pitched a number of these, he was the king of no decisions. If we could only hit on a more consistant basis, I'd fell a little better looking at our upcoming schedule. By the way, our schedule sucks!! Who made this one out, a Met hater? Do we play anyone else but the Phils and Braves? Well, this is our test because everything seems to fall in for the Braves as that field seems to be huge. As far as Philly goes, we better score often and early because Birrell and Co. loves to light us up there.

I will be watching the Phillies series more closely than I oughta, probably. Fourteen games in, and we can certainly see that the Mets are thin on position players, unnecessarily thin, and that counting on frail old pitchers doesn't always work out.

On the other hand, if what we are seeing is really the emergence of Mike Pelfrey as a quality starter -- well that's about the best news the team could have hoped for.

I was taking a casual look at the 2007 stats earlier. I believe the team got ten Quality Starts from their #5 starters last season, seven of them coming from Jorge Sosa. Pelfrey and Figuroa have combined for three so far this year, and the number would have been four if Mike had managed another inning in one of his starts. Of course, if they're both in the rotation they can't both be #5 starters -- but that's what both pitchers really are, at least this year.

The Mets collapsed in September, but it is almost as true that they lost the division when their #5 starters were on the mound. I don't think that will happen this season.

William - I kind of like the fact they play some games early against the Phillies and Braves. I consider it an early wake up call for the team.
dd - Agreed on Pelfrey. I still think if they found a RH hitting 1B with some pop to spell Delgado they'd be alright.

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