The Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves today 6-3 to take the series from their NL East rivals. Recap and box score is here.
Nelson Figueroa (2-1) got the win, going 5.1 innings giving up three runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out three. As the Mets fifth starter, he is doing just about everything you could ask. He is giving the Mets a decent chance to win every time he pitches, and has the ability to be very good at times. Interesting note on Figueroa: opponents are hitting just .094 against him his first time through the order. When Pedro comes back and Figueroa likely heads to the bullpen, this will probably come up again.
The Mets have been John Smoltz's little punching bag for most of his Hall of Fame career, but today New York got the better of Smoltz (3-2). Smoltz threw just four innings for the Braves, and though he struck out five batters, he surrendered four runs on seven hits and two walks. The Mets scored in the first inning when Jose Reyes trotted home from third following a puzzling wild pitch from Smoltz, and then added the next three runs in a Raul Casanova two-run home run in the second and Carlos Delgado's solo blast in the third. Smoltz obviously did not have his best stuff today, and the Mets took advantage early and often. With both Hampton and Glavine either on the DL or altogether ineffective, I harbor some serious concerns about the Braves' rotation. Chuck James and Jurrjens can only take you so far . . .
-Carlos Delgado had a big game, going 2-2 with two home runs and three runs scored, and raising his average to .205 on the year. This is a good sign for Mets fans, especially the fact that his first homer was to left field and his second was a bomb to right. Delgado has always puzzled me. He gets good at-bats, but he always seems to miss his pitch - he either fouls it off or misses it altogether. Let's see if he can put some good games and get some confidence, which may be his biggest problem.
- I tire of watching David Wright flail weakly at John Smoltz outside sliders. He might as well just concede an out before stepping to the plate ,and start saving his energy for pitchers he can actually hit.
- Great catch by Ryan Church in right-center field in the seventh inning. He caught it before running into the wall, leaping over Carlos Beltran in the process, and hanging onto the ball for the third out of the inning. Great effort is great to see, especially considering that the Braves would have trimmed the Mets slim two-run lead to one had Church not made the divine-like catch.
- Billy Wagner is a machine. Simply a machine. Ten scoreless innings to start the season, and just one hit off him that entire time. Aside from the I-give-up-leads-like-the-Dutch-build-dikes time bomb Aaron Heilman, the Mets bullpen has been pretty good so far, especially Joe Smith, Billy Wagner, Duaner Sanchez, and Pedro Feliciano (knock on wood).
Johan Santana (3-2) vs. Ian Snell (2-1) as the Mets start a three-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow night at Shea. It's just Santana's second home start of the year, as he lost his first to the homer happy Milwaukee Brewers.