By Mike Steffanos
There's nothing like a cool, rainy day in late August to remind you that summer is slowly giving way to autumn. The weather has also conspired to deprive us of our game today. If you haven't heard, the game has been rescheduled for noon tomorrow. Some thoughts and news bits on a rainy afternoon:
Not bad for a guy with a Mets ERA of 9
Oliver Perez made his Mets debut yesterday, and while no one is etching his name on the Cy Young award, most who watched the game came away impressed. We heard that one of the things he lost in Pittsburgh this year was his velocity. I had personally read that he wasn't getting his fastball out of the mid-80s, yet yesterday he was bringing it in the low to mid 90s all evening. I know there are mixed opinions on Perez, but I can't see how taking a chance on a power lefty isn't worthwhile.
I thought Marty Noble did a good job of summing up Perez' 5 innings against the Phillies in this feature on Mets.com:
For weeks, the Mets had guarded against looking too far ahead. They had dealt successfully with the temptation to think about October before finishing August. But they were guilty Saturday night, guilty of peering months ahead when weeks remain in their season.
Their fragmented focus was caused by what they witnessed in the course of their 11-5 thumping of the Phillies. They glimpsed what Oliver Perez can do and were quite struck by it. And they applied those impressions, not to next week, next month or October, but to next season. Forgive them the fantasy, short-lived as it was.
Brought to the big leagues only because of the spate of maladies that recently has beset the Mets' starting rotation, Perez shut down the Phillies for four innings on Saturday in his debut as a Met. For 15 batters -- five strikeouts, three walks and seven other assorted outs -- Perez was all the Mets thought he could become.
Pitching coach Rick Peterson used the word "dominating." Perez's catcher, Paul Lo Duca, used "awesome" and former opponent Shawn Green said he was reminded of a time two years ago when Green was sure Randy Johnson and Perez were the two primary left-handed pitchers in the National League.
Then the fifth inning happened, and it was June 2006 and a Minor League assignment was awaiting Perez. The inability to throw strikes that cost Perez his big-league status with the Pirates two months ago again was his undoing. In a seven-batter sequence, he walked two batters, including the opposing pitcher, hit a batter, surrendered a run-scoring single and gave up a grand slam to Ryan Howard.
To those who insist on calling the trade for Bert Hernandez and Perez a "panic move", I'd like to know where Omar has ever given the slightest indication that he would give in to panic? I believe, as in the Benson trade, he had a clear idea of what he wanted. We all know that there is no sure thing with Perez, because we never would have obtained him if he wasn't so messed up. I just honestly can't understand those that would write off this kid so easily, especially if you watched last night's start with any kind of an open mind. Sorry, but a 25-year-old power lefty who has no physical problems is always going to be a worthwhile gamble in my book.
Not a bad player after all
When I still listened to the Mike and the Mad Dog show on WFAN, I heard them state repeatedly that Carlos Beltran was a good, not great player, and that his contract was based on one great playoff run. They also pronounced that he would never hit many home runs with Shea as his home park. I think Beltran is proving to all of us that he is an elite ballplayer, and he's likely to set the franchise record for home runs. Why do people give so much credence to those guys? Their pompous pronouncements are often out of whack.
NY Times: Tom Glavine
David Picker has a feature on Tom Glavine's return to action.
Fox Sports: Boo Hoo
Ken Rosenthal gives us yet another "end of an era" feature on the Braves.
NorfolkTides.com: Pelfrey's return
Mike Pelfrey returned to action with 3 scoreless innings for Norfolk.