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Mets vs. Astros preview

The Mets will see a familiar face oppose them tonight for Houston. Brooklyn native Nelson Figueroa (3-1, 3.38) will be making his first start of the season for the Astros against Johan Santana (10-6, 2.89) for the Mets.

Santana is coming off back-to-back wins, blanking the Colorado Rockies in his last start and throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his previous start versus Philly. As predicted by Jerry Manuel, he seems to gain arm strength as he moves further away from his offseason surgery.
Santana has pitched well against Houston in his career. He is 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA.

Figueroa has been lobbying for a start since he came to the Astros on a waiver claim from Philadelphia.

"I enjoy starting," Figueroa told the Houston Chronicle. "When I first got here I discussed it with Brad (Mills) that if I had a preference I would be a starter." His first eight outings for the Astros have been out of the bullpen. He's 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 13 strikeouts and no walks.

Figueroa made a spot start for Philadelphia on April 24 at Arizona, allowing five hits and two earned runs in five innings to get a win while throwing 100 pitches. He's 11-24 with a 4.93 ERA in 50 career starts.

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