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Perez Strong Again

Mike SteffanosThursday, March 22, 2007
By Mike Steffanos


I listened to most of Oliver Perez' outing against the Dodgers tonight. It was obvious from the beginning that this wasn't going to be a replay of his dominant start against the Red Sox last week. He was struggling with his control and, according to Tom McCarthy, didn't have the great slider that he had in that game. I was hoping that Perez could battle through it and put up a representative start. The final line?

6IP, 1R, 0ER, 4H, 2K, 2BB

I know, if you're someone who doesn't believe in Perez, you're going to tell me that it's only an exhibition game. Still, in my mind he's come a long way this spring to fulfilling the promise of that game 7 vs the Cardinals. Pitching a decent game without his best stuff is another positive step.

It wasn't quite as positive when Ambiorix Burgos took over in the seventh and gave up yet another run. He's making a strong case for a demotion to New Orleans but, then again, other than Joe Smith none of the righties behind Heilman have shown much. He's looking as bad as Jorge Julio did going into the season, and I remember some of those ugly games before Julio turned around. If it's any consolation, the pitcher we traded for Burgos didn't fare too well, either.

Lino Urdaneta and Jorge Sosa managed scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to preserve the Mets' 6-2 win.

The amazing Jose Reyes was 3-3 with a walk, 3 stolen bases and 4 runs scored to spark the "O". (I remember reading an article on Yahoo touting Reyes as the Met most likely to "disappoint" in 2007. Will they ever learn?) Ramon Castro had a 2-run homer and Carlos Beltran also drove in a pair of runs.

The Mets are going to Disney World to face the Braves tomorrow afternoon. Aaron Sele takes the hill.

SI.com
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http://si.com/metsvote.

Of course, you could vote for one of the others, but that wouldn't really be nice, now would it?

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Comments (9)

My impression of Perez was that this was a version of him that we haven't seen. He got some grounders early on to get into a rhythm, but he hit a lot of bats, a lot of balls went in the air, but very few were well struck and none left the park. He's always battling himself with his fastball, but I heard enough "inside corner" calls to make me think his command was pretty good for the most part, and when he missed he didn't leave the pitch in a hittable location for the most part. It sounded like he was inconsistent with his slider, but he didn't throw any really bad hangers either. He's always thrown two different sliders. A more traditional "sharp" slider and one that's more like a slurve. He seemed to struggle locating the slurve and getting it to break down, which is a common problem for breaking ball pitchers, and why they have notoriously erratic command. The fact that he survived anyway is something he hasn't done in a long time, minors or majors. I take it as a great sign. It doesn't mean the old Ollie is back, but I don't think we'd be wondering if he was at all of he hadn't pitched so well this Spring.

I'm not completely sold yet either, but he battled hard today and pitched six solid innings. Willie almost took him out before the sixth. I wonder what was said that changed his mind? Maybe he challengegd Ollie, we know he loves to do that, and Ollie stepped up in what should have been a scoreless inning had it not been for David Wright's two base error.

But, again it must be noted Peterson is getting Ollie to trust his stuff. That means challenging hitters and letting them hit the ball knowing most will end up breing outs. This offsets his tendency to be wild. The fact he has given up only 1 unearned run in his last 12 innings is not bad. Plus as a Met he is a #3 pitcher not the ace.

There's a week to go and things could change, but so far I see no reason why Burgos deserves a spot on the roster over Urdaneta. They are two pitchers essentially fighting over the same bullpen role; one has pitched well and one has not. Both men feature live fastballs.

Besides, I'd like to see his first game with the Mets, when they flash his career numbers on the screen. Never saw a player with an infinite ERA before; it only feels like I did, that day Steve Trachsel gave up the four bombs to San Diego.

There's a week to go and things could change, but so far I see no reason why Burgos deserves a spot on the roster over Urdaneta. They are two pitchers essentially fighting over the same bullpen role; one has pitched well and one has not. Both men feature live fastballs.

Besides, I'd like to see his first game with the Mets, when they flash his career numbers on the screen. Never saw a player with an infinite ERA before; it only feels like I did, that day Steve Trachsel gave up the four bombs to San Diego.

Mike, the repitition above was caused by something to do with your server. Just figured you'd want to know.

I'm not concerned that Perez didn't have perfect command of his slider during a start. In fact I'm very impressed that he, much like Pelfrey, was able to get outs and cruise through 6 good innings wihtout his best stuff. That's a sign of throwers becoming pitchers.

As for Burgos, he just clearly is not ready for the main stage. I still think if you could do it over, the Bannister trade is one you have to make as a GM. The upside on a 22 year old flamethrower is too high. Let him work on his craft in New Orleans. If we need to bring in another righty reliever for the pen, Smith and Urnadetta are the guys who have earned it.

10 more days.

Mark - I wish I could have seen the game, of course, but I was really impressed by what I heard.
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Ed - I like the fact that he is challenging hitters, I just hope he continues to do it once the real games start.
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dd - I'm not sure about "deserving" a roster spot, but I just have the feeling Burgos would have to be attorciosu not to be on the opening day roster.

The hosting for the site is better, but not perfect. I'm going to give it some time and hope I don't have to find a new web host.
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Salman - I agree on Perez.

Perez needs to have a feel for the strikezone. also he is a rhythm pitcher. His 6 innings were good especially because he was not striking out hitters & there was little GOOD contact. He gave up 4 hits, 2 in the last 2 innings. He went 6-which is as long as any starter to date, facing 24batters. I thought he was done at 5-innings..

Overall Maine & Ollie make for a good #2and #3. both have relative similarity in age (25-26) and experience (2-3yrs). Pelfrey still is in his 2nd yr, but I think he will do fine. I have doubts about El-Duque and Glavine with their age (I think 150+ IP/10-12 wins is a good target), with others pitching in (including Petey). Given that this is possibly Glavine's last yr....Ollie is set to become our featured lefty...and that said I am welcoming a Ollie-Kazmir season tracker).

Mike - Don't feel bad about getting thoroughly trounced so far in the SI.com poll. It's an honor just to be nominated, blah blah blah.

Besides, when you google "Mets Blog", what do you think comes up first? Why, the blog that's leading the poll, of course.

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