Mets-Nats: Livan Hernandez Goes the Distance

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Mets-Nats: Livan Hernandez Goes the Distance
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The huge performance during the ballgame is the greater story than all the news and whispers before it. With news that Reyes and Church have officially been sent to the disabled list, Carlos Beltran would sit this one out as well.

Only David Wright and Luis Castillo were in tonight’s lineup that started on opening day. It didn’t matter who manned the other eight positions, because the guy on the mound was the man in charge.

Not only was Livan the first Met starter to complete nine innings this season, but he was the first of them even to pitch the eighth.

Livan Hernandez—what more can you say?

When Jerry Manuel made a statement earlier this season that he only wanted Livan facing a batting order twice around, I was dumbfounded. How are you going to say that about a pitcher who made a career being an innings eater?

He took the 1997 Marlins on his shoulder to game seven of the World Series and reigned as the most valuable player.

Yes, this is 12 years later amd Livan is approximately 36 years old, but he’s one of those pitchers from whom, night in night out, you know exactly what you’ll. Tuesday’s start went just like that, with a little something extra.

Don’t be fooled by Nationals hitters. Just because they have the worst record in baseball doesn’t mean this team can’t play ball.

Ryan Zimmerman their most polished hitter, had a 43 game on-base streak snapped because he was fooled on the 66 mph Bugs Bunny curve of Livan’s.

Nick Johnson and Willie Harris, who are usually thorns in the Mets' side, both went 0-4 and left a combined total of seven men on base.

Adam Dunn provided the only run off Livan during his full nine innings, taking a ball deep to left.

Besides that, Livan provided the brilliance that a battered Mets lineup graciously needed. 

Livan mowed down the Nationals one by one. If he let up a hit, he made sure that runner wasn’t going anywhere.

He also had excellent help defensively when Angel Pagan threw a rocket to the plate where Omir Santos tagged out the Nats' Josh Bard.

In all honesty, he should have been kicked out after he hit Justin Maxwell with a pitch in the eighth. Umpire Dan Iassongna had sent a warning to Kip Wells the inning prior, but in a confusing matter it went nowhere.

Maybe he was just as excited as all the Met fans to see a Met pitcher throw the first complete game since Johan Santana’s amazing performance at the end of last September.

Another thing Met fans were excited to see was the major league debut of highest ranked Met prospect Fernando Martinez. It was the same kind of hype we saw with Lastings Milledge where we heard rave reviews, but no one knew exactly what to expect.

As Milledge was a laughing stock, F-Mart seems to be the real deal five-tool player who the Mets signed at 16 years of age.

Although his debut wasn’t anything to drop your jaw at, he showed great potential when he legged out a slow rolling ground ball that could of been a double play. It was his first career RBI. The 20-year-old tore up the Intercontinental League this May with seven homers and 20 RBI.

Omar says if he can show that type of potential early in his big league stint, this young man should stick around for a while longer.

Livan Hernandez was helped out by a three-run Gary Sheffield homer, his second in as many days. The last week of spring training pick-up is looking to be a steal for the Mets right now, especially with their everyday clean-up hitter out of the lineup.

Without Carlos Beltran hitting for the next couple days, is it safe to say Sheff is the most important man on their roster? So far, it’s not looking that far off.

Could you believe that Johan Santana has to match up to the brilliant performance of Livan’s? Well, we all know he’s been spectacular all year, but the kind of competitor Johan is, he’s going to want to come out and pitch his best game yet following that.

Signs look positive for the Mets to sweep those pesky Nats under the rug. When it’s all said and done, will the ace prevail greater than the perennial No. 5?

7:10 tomorrow, kids. I know you won’t miss it.

 

Randy Sobel is a contributor to HowBoutThemMets.com and can be reached at Randy.Sobel@gmail.com.

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