Frank Francisco Sweats His Way to a Save

Miguel Batista turns the clock way back in 3-1 win

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, May 15, 2012  |  Updated 8:23 AM EDT
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Frank Francisco's weekend of ineffectiveness did something that can only happen when people find themselves at very desperate moments.

It made them nostalgic for Armando Benitez, Francisco Rodriguez and all the other closers whose inability to simply get three outs before shaking the catcher's hand once made them sit in a dark room contemplating the universe. Old pain hardly seems as bad as the current agony, especially when faced with the thought of five more months with Francisco. 

None of those guys are currently on the roster, though, and that means Terry Collins stuck with Francisco as his closer during a Monday afternoon chat with the media. He got an immediate chance to put his money where his mouth was on Monday night.

The Mets led the Brewers 3-0 going into the bottom of the ninth and Collins summoned Francisco for another thrill ride. He got one.

Francisco gave up two hits and a walk, leading to a Brewers run and grumbles from a crowd preparing itself to watch another lead disappear in the night because of Francisco's inability to slam the door. Brooks Conrad looked at strike three, though, and Francisco got George Kottaras to fly out to right field to escape with a 3-1 win and the save that eluded him all weekend.

There aren't many things more aggravating than watching a closer create chaos for himself in the ninth inning. It also probably isn't that healthy to have your heart racing and your breathing shallow just before being shocked with a dose of elation when they actually pick up the third out of the inning.

Seeing Francisco actually complete his appointed job was only the second most surprising pitching development of the evening. The most surprising was Miguel Batista's seven shutout innings, including just one walk from a pitcher who was averaging almost one an inning coming into the start.

At least the shock was more spread out, and more healthy, than watching Francisco's condensed baseball theater. We'd hate to consider what would happen to hearts under other circumstances.

The developments on the mound dominated on Monday, but Daniel Murphy's night deserves a little attention as well. He singled home the first run, scored the second run and hit the ball that turned into an Aramis Ramirez mistake for the third run. 

Murphy's hitting .462 during a 10-game hitting streak, a very pleasant development given the fact that Ike Davis seems to have forgotten where he put his ability to hit a baseball. Maybe Francisco can help him find it now that he's figured out how to get three outs before allowing the opposition to take the lead.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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