Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Completist

If you were taking bets as to who the first Met Pitcher to throw a complete game this year would be, you probably wouldn't have had many taking Livan Hernandez.

So, of course, he's the first one.

It helps when you're facing a mostly punchless Washington National lineup, but you still have to go out there and pitch your game, and Livan certainly did that last night over his 127 pitch effort. The Mets offense predictably sputtered over the early part of the game. With the Mets already-run-starved bats now missing Carlos Beltran in addition to everyone else, the Mets could be expected to struggle. It was up to some of the lesser-known guys to step up and pick up the slack. David Wright couldn't be expected to do it all alone. They did generate a few early runs, thanks to some 2-out hits from Santos and Ramon Martinez, and in the 3rd got a couple more home thanks to Fernando Martinez's speed earning him his first Major League RBI via a Fielder's Choice.

But it was Livan who really picked up the slack, not only making those early runs stand up, but keeping the Nationals for the most part off the scoreboard. He gave up plenty of hits, which was to be expected, but he minimized damage and kept the runs off the board. The middle part of the game was sort of a blur, at least until Sheffield's HR in the 7th put the game away. With the outcome in little doubt by this point, the only thing left to see was whether or not Livan could finish off the game, which he did without much contest. In fact, there wasn't even anyone throwing in the bullpen, even as Livan worked in the 9th. So, given the opportunity, finish the game he did.

I wonder what this says to some of the other guys in the Mets rotation. "Gee, if this old guy can get out there and throw a complete game, why can't I?" Bet that's what's flashing through Johan Santana's head tonight as he takes the mound. Rain or no rain, I'll be there tonight as well.

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