Archives for posts with tag: Nelson Figueroa

crowd sky.jpgThe thing about The Wife attending grad school in the South is that whenever she comes up for a week-long break, weekday mornings are a bear. This may be too saccharine for a blog about the Mets, but I find it exceedingly difficult to WANT to get out of bed and go to work, and do all the things that take place via muscle memory on any given Monday.

Difficult, too, is the day after the end of Baseball I Truly Care About. They’ve been rough the past couple of years. This one’s worse, somehow, despite the profound lack of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I want to throw on jeans and a t-shirt, get some people together, and play some ball (by the by, the David Wright GQ photo won in Steelers-like fashion, surviving a late surge from Santana’s soulful warm-up shot, in the battle for off-season profile pic).
 
This year, with the end of the season occurring one week later and her vacation one week earlier, I’ve been hit with a double-barrel shot of I Don’t Wanna Go.  But go I do, riding on the local train as I type to vision loss on a tiny screen.
 
I think I’d be happier if I were on my way to Citi Field; I’d also be happier if The Wife were done with grad school and she were somehow gainfully employed in marine matters up here, up North. Today is a red-letter day in “dang.”
 
There are bright spots in memory. Yesterday was gorgeous.
 baseball sky.jpgI can’t recall the last beautiful day I spent at the park, and that’s partly a function of all the night games I managed to go to this year, and partly a function of the awful weather that the city’s been saddled with.
 
Also can’t recall the last time Alex Anthony, the Mets’ P.A. announcer, had to tell me about a pitching accomplishment.

fig pitch 01.jpgfig pitch 02.jpgfig pitch 03.jpg1010 WINS’s sportscaster called it this way at 7:45a: “Mets end their season with a sweep of the Astros, winning 4-0 on a good start by Nelson Figueroa.”
 
fig pitch 04.jpgIn fact, Figueroa threw the first complete game shutout in Citi Field history, a fact that would’ve explained away my surprise at seeing him come up to bat in the bottom of the eighth. I just kept looking at the pitch count and thinking, “He’s thrown for a million years and that arm hasn’t quit yet. If he gets lucky in the ninth, I doubt he goes much past 120.” He threw 113 pitches to dispatch with the Astros.
 
fig dugout.jpgYesterday’s game was also a demonstration of the style of play the park “was built for”: hits in the gaps; speed on the base paths.  Hassling pitchers.  In the bottom of the fourth with Beltran on third, Jeremy Reed walked on ten pitches; Josh Thole grabbed his single to score the run on nine. 

thole bat 01.jpgthole bat 02.jpgthole bat 03.jpgthole bat 04.jpgthole bat 05.jpgthole bat 06.jpgThat’s nineteen pitches over the course of two batters, accounting for nearly twenty-five percent of Wilton Lopez’s final total on the day.  Good work.  More next year, please.

Still would’ve enjoyed it if Pagan had hit for the cycle.  Regardless, a masterful effort offensively and defensively for the man.
 
In the past two years, Pagan and Figueroa have shown themselves to be two good soldiers. In the afterglow of a great effort, a win on the last day of the season, and a jolt of immediate nostalgia for this ragtag group of intergalactic rebels–which, given the season record, one could call criminally psychotic–I had Pagan penciled in as the opening day left fielder, and Figueroa as the fifth starter.
 
Then I woke up.

thole crouch.jpgThese guys–a lot of the guys on the Mets–are good soldiers. But the good soldiers have to be the last line of defense on any game in which the elite squad’s either put the game away or have been put away themselves.

last line.jpgPagan and Figueroa are not a foundation on which to build. 

Neither are Thole or Murphy or Santos or Parnell, or Misch or Evans.  Not yet, at the very, very least.

Neither are Maine or Pelfrey or Chowdah, as much as it pains me to say about Maine and Pelfrey, and as much of a soft spot I have now for the right fielder.

They’re who you use to clear wate
r out of the foundation when all you can do is wait for the morning, when the river’s receded.  How’s THAT for an overextended metaphor?
 
Truly, the next Mets team that comes to Flushing with championship aspirations must be a team that can soundly batter, not merely play good and close. All Mets starters should be eminently capable of throwing complete game shut-outs. I want a threat for the cycle at least once a homestand.  I want 30/30 seasons from my center fielder, third baseman, AND shortstop.
 
I want my wife to finish grad school and move back to New York. I want to work for/around/in/about baseball.  I want to write screenplays. I want a nutritious breakfast.
 
end of year crowd.jpgAny and everything is possible, save for a Mets no-hitter; I was convinced I’d see that this season as karmic recompense for the siege on the team’s health, and was denied it.  Today the Mets begin working on getting me what I want. The cruel fact of life is that, in order to get what I want, I have to get up and go to work. Gotta be a good soldier.
 
fan sign.jpgI like my job; I like the people there. But it sure isn’t baseball.
 
**
 
Section Five Twenty-Eight won’t shut down for the post- or off-season; there will certainly be fewer photos, but I’m certain that without necessarily having to apply the artifice of baseball to my random pandemic twiddlepoopings, the posts will be fluid reads.
 
That said, I do watch as much as I can of the post-season. I said I wouldn’t declare those loyalties until the teams were decided, and Minnesota has made it impossible for me to do that today. I’ll definitely be watching their game on Tuesday, as well as watching/reading/listening to any developments on the Mets front.
 
I imagine that much of my Mets commentary in the fall and winter months will be focused on dissecting the dissection of various team moves; I’m hot on this “we should be responsible fans” kick. If you’re new here I strongly urge you to visit the folks I’ve linked to in the blog roll on the right; I find that together they present a fine and balanced picture, easily understood and always fun to debate.
 
Let’s go Mets in 2010!

mr met.jpg
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I enjoyed Fernando Tatis for a couple of years.  I really did.

But he’s now been responsible, too many times, for taking a game I wanted to watch and stomping all over it.

There was the streak of grounding into double plays back when he was playing regularly and there was still something to play for.  Now that games are played primarily for instructional purposes and out of contractual obligation, he’s killing that desire with pop ups and single out grounders: rally-wounders; at this point just as bad as rally-killers.

But think about my point for a moment: I work a long day.  I write and edit on my way into work, I spend all day pulled in nine different directions, I write and edit on my way back from work.  I sit down to ENJOY A 2009 METS GAME.  No pressure, all wistful thinking about the wistful thoughts I’ll have in less than two weeks.  Do you understand just what kind of personality and energy it takes to sit down AT THIS POINT and expect to ENJOY a game this season?

Exactly.

And then the Mets put runners in scoring position on some heads-up play.

And then I see Fernando Tatis, and Gary, Keith, and Ron are already talking about what I already know: that Tatis is a strange choice to pinch-hit in this position, given Jair Jurrjens minor struggles against lefties during the night and his relative facility with righties.

(David Wright’s ears and his four hitless at-bats are burning.  If Chowdah ever listened, his ears would be burning, too.)

There’s a shot of Jerry Manuel, there’s a one-pitch at-bat, there’s Cory Sullivan, and then there’s the eighth inning.

Fernando “Grand-Slams” Tatis.  I wonder if Mr. Manuel believes that Fernando Tatis works from muscle memory obtained a decade ago.  I’m here to say that the man, undeniably, does not.

Allow me to crib from one of King Of The Hill‘s few truly twisted and ingenious episodes, “Plastic White Female”:

Paul: You’re just using Tatis as a crutch.

Jerry Manuel: He’s not a crutch, Paul. He’s someone I’ve come to rely on to help
me through life.

And then I cut Fernando Tatis’s batting helmet in half with a table saw.

The only true joy that came out of this game was watching Nelson Figueroa’s increasing levels of “You gotta be kidding me,” as he faced Jair Jurrjens at the plate in his last batter. Jurrjens fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch, only to finally ground out to Figueroa.  When Figueroa trotted the tag to Jurrjens personally, I laughed so hard that I think I made a little water.

Also, for those who couldn’t hip to the broadcast tonight: head out to Sag Harbor.  Find Paradise Restaurant on Main Street.  Ask for Howie, and tell him Keith Hernandez sent you.  Best revelation of random fact since I learned that HBO Boxing’s ringside scorer Harold Lederman doubles as a pharmacist somewhere in Poughkeepsie, NY.  The world is a strange, strange place.

Anyway. Ten games left.  Fernando Tatis, I will not feel bad if you find your way to another team next season.  Time to relieve the Mets of the crutch.

**For those who want to vote on what my off-season profile pic will be, check out the rules and options here and email your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

This was not Pat Misch’s night.

One and a third innings pitched.  Eight runs, all earned, on seven hits, and three of those hits home runs.  Forty-two pitches, and six of those to Adam LaRoche, who struck out.

I don’t know why I want to subtract those, but I do. 

So seven hits in thirty-six pitches.  Eight runs on thirty-six pitches, which means he gave up, on average, one run every four and a half throws to the plate.

For all the talk of Pat Misch being “Tom Glavine-like,” it’s important to point out that Glavine was somewhat of a punk until 1991.  Misch has pitched about 140 innings.  Glavine pitched many more than that at the end of his first four seasons. (Click here for the summed stat line on Glavine, 1987-1990.  I know it’s off to compare the two this way, but hopefully you take this to mean I don’t think they should be compared.)

I don’t know if it’s going to work out for the guy; I hope it does.  I think, though, that with the Sword of Damocles dangling over homeboy’s career, it’d behoove him to work things out at least a LITTLE, and quickly.

Lots of guys are gunning to carry the dirty laundry that’s owned by the guy who carries Santana’s dirty laundry.  And if things are really working out, one would hope that Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, and, what the hell, Nelson Figueroa are working to fill that laundry carrier’s laundry carrier position.

Your advantage, Pat Misch and underperformers, can’t just be that you’re cheap.

Nelson Figueroa of Brooklyn, USA last pitched for the Mets on April 19, 2009.

This is how it went.  Read the MLB-branded recap here.

Then this from Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger.

From a post by Matthew Cerrone on Metsblog.

Figueroa declared free agencyFound no takers save for the Mets.  Wound up in Buffalo. 

His ERA in Buffalo was 2.25 over 112 innings (praise be, again, to Metsblog).

The Diamondbacks were thirteen games below .500 before the start of last night’s game.

Figueroa gave up six runs in 1 2/3rds innings before being pulled.

The Mets were reasonably saved by this man, who vaguely looks like this man:

Teflon Tim.jpgYet the Mets lost to the Diamondbacks, 6-5.

This is how last-night’s game went.  Read the MLB-branded recap here.

Nelson Figueroa gave up the totality of runs last night, pitching for a team that is offensively challenged.

There is no crying in baseball.  There are no I-told-you-sos.  There are victories snatched from the jaws of defeat, like last night almost was, and there are defeats snatched from the jaws of victory, like most of 2008.  These are the cliches we live with.

The Diamondbacks are now twelve games below .500.  The Mets?  Five.

Billy Wagner should be back in a little while.  So will J.J. Putz.  The Mets are not mathematically eliminated, and won’t be for some time.  So in the interests of keeping peace and moving on, I won’t rake Mr. Figueroa over the coals from my back-row vantage point on the sand.  I could not hope to reach him.

But I will say this, sir: if you’re DFA’d, and you eventually come up against the choice of going back to Buffalo or declaring free agency?  Go back to Buffalo. 

Happily.