In our last episode, the Three Fernandos appeared to have disbanded. Fernando Nieve was fighting for his life to stay in the rotation and was given one more shot to remain a core member of the Three Fernandos. Fernando Tatis was in the process of having the villagers sew him a new uniform. Rumor had it that his new number was going to be 6-4-3. Fernando Martinez had been sent down to Triple-A Buffalo after a short 18-game stint in the majors. How would they deal with this new crisis? Would they be able to roam the streets of Santo Poco (That’s Spanish for Citi Field. At least it is in this episode.) as a trio again? Let’s find out what our beloved heroes have been up to:
Fernando Nieve was brilliant for the third consecutive outing. He lassoed the Cardinals by brilliantly mixing in his changeup with his 95 MPH fastball. Nieve held St. Louis scoreless through his six innings of work, while scattering three hits and four walks. His moxie showed when he gritted his way through a 39-pitch third inning while not allowing the Cardinals to find their way onto the scoreboard. He was also allowed to go out to the mound in the sixth inning after throwing 101 pitches through the first five frames. How did he reward his fellow Fernandos and the fans? He needed only seven pitches to retire the Cardinals in order. In doing so, he lowered his ERA to a miniscule 1.31. He has now given up 11 hits and nine walks in 20 2/3 innings, for an outstanding WHIP of 0.97. He has also forced Jerry Manuel’s hand. There’s no way Manuel dares take him out of the rotation now. Nieve hasn’t beaten the likes of the Nationals, Pirates and Padres. He has defeated the Yankees (at the House That Juice Built), Rays and Cardinals in consecutive outings. All three teams are expected to contend for playoff berths. He has been the most impressive of the Three Fernandos and is clearly the leader of the trio. Opposing varmints tremble in fear at the sight of Fernando Nieve on the mound.
Fernando Tatis had figured to lose playing time at first base when the Mets called up Nick Evans. Daniel Murphy was already playing most of the games at first in Carlos Delgado’s absence and was settling into the role. Fernando Tatis was playing sparingly but was making more outs than his everyday compadres due to his penchant for finding the opposing infielders with ground ball after ground ball. Tatis was supposed to be one of the main guns in the Three Fernandos. Unfortunately, his guns were only good for twin killings at a time. Nothing appeared to have changed tonight as Tatis hit into another double play in the first inning. Then, with a tip of his sombrero, things began to change. An RBI groundout in the fourth inning got the ball rolling. Then came a pair of RBI singles in the sixth and seventh innings. For the moment, Fernando Tatis had redeemed himself with those three consecutive run-producing at-bats. He was allowed to remain as a member of the Three Fernandos, but more twin killings might cause the villagers of Santo Poco to look elsewhere for a savior; someone who can handle his guns with more consistency.
Finally, we have the young gun, Fernando Martinez. Although he did not get a hit in the Mets’ 11-0 blowout victory over the Cardinals, he still showed why his youthful exuberance is key to the future of the Three Fernandos franchise. On an infield single by Nick Evans in the sixth stanza, Martinez hustled from first to third. He later scored on Brian Schneider’s long double to right field. He also collected an RBI in the seventh inning when he hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Ryan Church from third base. He also filled in nicely for the injured Carlos Beltran in center field by recording seven putouts. He may not be reaching base via the hit very much, as seen by his .174 batting average (12 for 69), but he is finding other ways to reach base. When he does, he is a force to be reckoned with, fast on the draw and quick to scamper around the bases. With his tools, Martinez will be a valued member of the Three Fernandos for years to come, provided he can avoid a return trip from Santo Poco to Buffalo.
The Three Fernandos have been faced with every cliffhanger ending possible. They have always come back to save the Mets from falling further behind the evil Gang of Phils. El Guapo and his cohorts have fallen by the wayside. The new threat of El Hombre (Albert Pujols) has also been vanquished. How much longer they can continue to be the saviors of Santo Poco, only time will tell. Until then, we can only hope and pray that whenever a rally is needed or whenever a losing streak must be ended, the Three Fernandos won’t be too far away.