|The Mets’ Miguel Batista threw seven shutout innings Monday night against the Brewers at Citi Field. (NYTimes.com)|
Miguel Batista pitched a surprising 7-inning shutout and the Mets' 3 hits were enough to fuel a series-opening win over the Brewers, 3-1.
The Good Stuff:
- Since Miguel Batista's 2-hit shutout in last season's finale, the 41-year-old veteran looked like he'd been spent on the mound. Not expected to be a starter, he had to fill the role when Mike Pelfrey went down and Chris Schwinden proved ineffective. Every start could potentially be his last, but today at least, Batista earned himself another goaround, tossing the Solid Seven: 7 innings of 4-hit shutout ball, walking just 1 and striking out 5 on 108 pitches. You can't ask for much more than 7 innings out of a pitcher nowadays, and the Mets got that from Miguel Batista tonight. It's games like this that would make you feel comfortable as a rotation fill-in, at least until Chris Young is ready to rejoin the club next month.
- New York sure needed that performance from Batista, as the team only managed 3 hits against Yovani Gallardo and the Milwaukee pitchers. They did draw 6 walks, however, which led to a run in the 1st when Daniel Murphy singled home Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
- Murphy had 2 of the Mets' 3 hits on the day, including a double in the 6th that set up Ronny Cedeno's perfectly executed suicide squeeze to make it 2-0.
- Knowing the current Met closer named Francisco was ready for the 9th, New York salvaged one more run off their old closer named Francisco, Francisco Rodriguez, in the 8th. David Wright doubled, went to third on Lucas Duda's groundout, and came home when Daniel Murphy put it in play; Wright was caught in a rundown but Brewer third baseman Aramis Ramirez dropped the ball on the glove-to-hand transfer and David scored standing up. 3-0.
- After Batista made his exit, Tim Byrdak got his man again to lead off the 8th, and Bobby Parnell needed all of 5 pitches to get the last 2 outs to send it to the 9th...
- ...Which was not completely blown by Franks Francisco, who got George Kottaras to fly out deep to right to "put it in the books!" Howie Rose on WFAN followed up his catchphrase with the all-too-appropriate, "and...exhale."
- That extra run was all too important because of what closer "for the moment" Frank Francisco did on the mound, allowing one run to score and the tying runs to get aboard. Frank-Frank did nothing to improve my confidence in him tonight. If he managed to almost give it up to the back end of an injury-ravaged (even more so than us) Milwaukee team, how's he going to get out Joey Votto or Matt Kemp? The moment has passed for this "closer for the moment;" it's time for Terry Collins to look elsewhere.
- Speaking of moments, it's moment after moment of at-bat agony for Ike Davis, who went 0-4 with 2 Ks on the night. Ike is now hitting a mind-numbing 3-53 at home. That's an .057 batting average at home. Almost one fifth of the way through the season. The only explanation I have is that maybe the Valley Fever is more serious then we thought. I'm starting to really worry about the future of our home-grown slugger of a first baseman, whose slugging days seem to have gone up and vanished in the wind a la Jason Bay.
When the offense only has 3 hits on the day and you still win by 2 runs, that's a darn good pitching effort. Don't let Francisco's near meltdown let you forget the Mets got an extraordinary performance from Miguel Batista and a bullpen that has a few good men. A win's a win, and Met fans will take anything after the relative lashing in Miami.