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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ya Gotta Nieve!

Who are these guys? Eleven runs against the first-place Cardinals? Fernando Nieve winning his third game in three starts, all against top teams, with an ERA of 1.31?

On Tuesday, we saw what looked like the "true Met offense" - a depleted lineup mustering only two hits while being shut out by Joel Pineiro. But while tonight's win did feature half a dozen infield hits and shoddy defense by the Cardinals, maybe the Mets are not so punchless after all. They did get six runs on Monday as well.

Maybe Daniel Murphy, Ryan Church, Fernando Tatis and Nick Evans are not bad players, but slumping players who can still make a contribution.

As for Nieve, the Mets have only five wins in the last fourteen games, and Nieve now has three of them. The assumption is that he can't be for real because why would the Astros just release him. But it's not as if the Astros always make good decisions regarding pitchers - a few years back, they let another Venezuelan pitcher go - guy named Johan Santana.

Nieve may not be Santana, but he also may not be Alay Soler. As a rotation fill-in in 2006, Soler pitched a complete-game shutout in his fourth start to improve his record to 2-1 and drop his ERA to .333. Four starts later, he was off the Mets for good and has not pitched in the majors since.

Omar Minaya deserves criticism for assembling a flawed team with no depth, but he deserves praise for patching together the rotation with Nieve, Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding.

Dan Warthen keeps a much lower profile than predecessor Rick Peterson, but he must be doing something right with the unexpected success of Nieve and Livan.

With the Mets scheduled to face Chris Carpenter and CC Sabathia in the next two games, they will be lucky to get eleven hits over both games, much less eleven runs.

But whenever you count this Met team out, they seem to rise to the occasion, even as the injuries mount. And despite it all, the Mets are only a game and a half out of first.

1 comment:

MetsPubRec said...

I too remember the end result of the great Alay Soler. Nieve is a great story. With the Mets season shrouded in MRIs, cortisone shots, and shoulder stiffness, he is a beacon of hope for the time being.