During spring training, there were several pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the Mets’ rotation—Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding, Jon Niese and Freddy Garcia. When the smoke cleared, the (ahem) 34-year-old Hernandez won that spot and never looked back. Now, after winning his fourth game against one loss last night by giving up one run and GOING THE DISTANCE against Washington, it’s safe to say that signing Livan was one of Omar Minaya’s best moves in the off-season.
My question is this, though…..for as dominating as Livan has been so far, does last night’s game cement him as our #2 starter behind Johan? I mean, Pelfrey and Maine are doing better than their collective April indicated, and have similar ERAs and won-loss records, but Livan has been a downright stopper. Forget the radar gun too….he’s got stuff on his pitches that have kept his career going, and the fact that he throws so slow most of the time is a big reason Livan was able to pitch nine innings last night, throwing 127 pitches.
True, in the grand scheme of the 2009 season, it doesn’t matter who is #2 or 3 or 4 or 5, and there is still a lot of baseball to be pitched and played this season. But not only has Livan been a pleasant surprise and made many of us forget about Ollie Perez’ horrendous start, but he just might be the piece of the off-season puzzle that gets the Mets back to the postseason. And who could have predicted that?
So is he #2? Do you care? I know I don’t, as long as he keeps doing what he’s doing.