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Brewers-Mets Preview

Brewers-Mets Preview
No pitcher who logged at least 170 innings had a higher ERA than Livan Hernandez's last season, so when the New York Mets signed him to be their fifth starter, they weren't expecting much.

After one start, they certainly can't complain.

Hernandez will look to build on his solid season debut Friday night in the opener of a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field, where the Mets have dropped two of their first three contests.

Hernandez (1-0, 2.70 ERA) ate innings last year in 31 combined starts between Minnesota and Colorado, but he was much more of a hindrance than his 13-11 record would indicate. Hernandez posted a dreadful 6.05 ERA in 180 innings, and the 257 hits he gave up were by far the most in the majors.

Those numbers didn't stop the Mets (4-5) from offering him a minor-league deal in February, and with a strong spring - he posted a 2.55 ERA in six games - Hernandez was named New York's fifth starter.

Aside from Johan Santana's 13-strikeout effort over seven innings on Sunday, no Mets pitcher has recorded a better start than Hernandez did one day earlier. The veteran right-hander gave up two runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings in New York's 8-4 win in Florida, which remains the Marlins' only loss so far in 2009.

"When you have a veteran like Livan who commands his pitches and can put a little on and take a little off, he can be tough for a young, aggressive-swinging team like that," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "He was able to throttle back and forth, which made him very effective."

Hernandez is 0-3 with a 6.87 ERA in three starts against Milwaukee over the past two seasons.

New York could use another effort like Hernandez's latest outing considering their starting pitching at Citi Field have been less than impressive. The Mets have gotten an average of 5 1-3 innings and a 6.75 ERA out of their rotation at home thus far.

John Maine was given a three-run homer from Carlos Delgado in the first inning on Thursday, but he gave up six runs in five innings in a 6-5 loss to the Padres, New York's second in three games of its first-ever series at Citi Field.

"We continue to put ourselves in good position to win but we haven't been able to finish," Manuel said.

The Brewers (3-6) have been the victims of some disastrous pitching early on - their staff has a 5.92 ERA - and Dave Bush (0-0, 6.14) hasn't been without fault.

But while Bush gave up two runs in an inning of relief on April 7, he looked much better as a starter Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. He gave up three runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings, and was in line for a win until Milwaukee's bullpen blew a late lead in a 6-5 loss.

Bush gave up six runs over five innings in a 9-2 loss to the Mets at Miller Park on Sept. 3.

The loss in Bush's last start was the first of four in a row for the Brewers, a stretch in which they yielded 27 runs. Milwaukee's pitchers fared well on Wednesday, though, and Mike Cameron had three hits - including two homers - to spark a 9-3 win over Cincinnati to avoid a sweep.

"I think everyone in here knows that we have a good team," said Cameron, who's hitting .370 with three homers. "It's just a matter of going out and executing."

Cameron is hitting .233 (10-for-43) in his career against Hernandez, but has four homers.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 17, 2009

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