Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Delicate Balance

I've been mostly absent this week for various reasons, and I haven't actually seen any of this week's games. I did have a chance to turn on the Mets game on the radio yesterday afternoon, however by then it was already the 3rd inning and the game was completely out of hand.

It took me a few minutes to realize that Nelson Figueroa hadn't actually started the game.

The disturbing trend du jour with the Mets now is the failure of Oliver Perez to build on his success of last season and continue to drive his career forward.

My completely insane co-worker (who insisted I refer to him as such) called following the game screaming that the Mets should deal Oliver Perez and Omar Minaya to Pittsburgh for Xavier Nady. He then wondered if it was possible to make an awful team even worse. He figured that Minaya ought to be able to screw up the Pirates even moreso than they already are.

Other people laugh these bad outings off and say that Ollie is bound to throw up a stinker every so often.

This is now 4 in a row, and 3 out of 4 where he's just lost it completely without any real warning.

The truth lies somewhere in between. Perez at least seems somewhat cognisant of his responsibility to the club, and at least he's figured out that outings like yesterday, and the one against Milwaukee, and the one in Washington really aren't acceptable anymore. He already had his one shot at a major breakout in 2005, and he did a pretty good job of unraveling to the point where he was in the Minor leagues in 2006. Wagner called him out after yesterday's game, and from what I'm able to glean from this article, Perez did accept it. We know he's inconsistent, but it's beginning to get to the point where it's more than just hoping he's got the right arm slot tonight. We're starting to get to the point where it may be time to admit that Perez is just not that good, and that those two good seasons he's had were more flukish instances of him being able to put a solid string of starts together rather than the true talent bubbling to the surface. Pitchers like Steve Trachsel and Willie Blair managed to parlay seasons like this into millions of dollars.

It's not as though Perez is working with an ERA over 6. His numbers aren't totally horrible. But last year, there were points where he was absolutely the guy you wanted on the mound in a big game. He's not inspiring that confidence in anyone this season.

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