The Mets are probably making Fernando Nieve a starter

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fernando nieve headshot mets.jpgI was rather surprised to see Jerry Manuel call Fernando Nieve into last night’s game against the Phillies. The Mets had a nice lead, Nieve has been overworked this year and if there was ever a situation for a mopup guy, that was it.  Turns out, however, that there may have been a method to the madness: It was a side-session for Nieve, who will likely be called on to start Saturday night’s game against the Brewers.

That’s what Jerry Manuel said after last night’s game, anyway, calling Nieve “the leading candidate” to get the call, and saying that “he deserves a shot.”

Which may be a good thing for him.  Nieve is still way up near the top in games pitched this year, and moving him to the rotation could ease up his workload a bit. More pitches but less often, don’t you know.  As it is he has struggled lately, maybe because he’s tired.

Quite the reshuffling of the Mets rotation in this last week.  So far it’s worked wonderfully, with R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi dominating what is supposed to be the NL’s best offense the last two nights.  Milwaukee has a powerful offense too, and I’m curious to see how Nieve does.

The Braves will be serving some insane food this season

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Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.

Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.

The big item, though, is this one:

It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.

Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.