Nelson Figueroa is like a Chuck Berry song; An oldie but a goodie. Going into tonight’s game, the 36-yr old Figueroa had a 3.51 ERA in 28 games for the Phillies and Astros, including 8 starts. He promptly shut down the Nationals for 5 innings before falling apart in the 6th. It’s curious how he slipped through the fingers of two teams who have been desperate for starting pitching the past couple seasons. Before the Phillies, Figueroa had the thankless, painful privilege of pitching for the New York Mets. In 2009, he pitched in 16 games, including 10 starts, and posted a 4.09 ERA over 70 innings. Then he started 2010 in Philadelphia and after 13 appearances, had a 3.46 ERA. I guess teams would rather throw out Oliver Perez and Kyle Kendrick. To each their own. I, for one, am glad Houston claimed him off waivers after Philadelphia designated him for assignment.
Figueroa has posted a 3.58 ERA over 15 games, including 7 starts, with Houston this year and should compete for the 5th starter job next season with Felipe Paulino. The other filling the ‘long reliever’ role out of the bullpen. He may not be a household name, own a large contract, or light up the radar gun, but he’s a guy most teams would be ecstatic to have as a 5th starter. Or atleast, that teams should be ecstatic to have.