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Never Just React When You Can Overreact

Mike SteffanosThursday, April 12, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Phillies 5 - Mets 2

I wasn't surprised when Oliver Perez had a strong outing against the Braves last Friday, nor was I surprised when he took a step back last night. Another thing that didn't surprise me was the way a good percentage in the media have seized on Perez' struggles last night combined with Maine's on Monday to resurrect the vulnerable rotation stories.

Please, stop the insanity.

This overreacting from start to start is crazy, and in no way reflects the reality of a baseball season. Neither does trying to impart October significance to April games. Can we please all take a deep breath, count to ten, and take a reality check here?

Maine and Perez are both works in progress -- to different degrees, and for different reasons both have work to do to reach their potential. It was painful to watch Maine struggle Monday, and even more painful to watch Perez' third inning meltdown last night. Not quite as painful, though, as the headache I get reading the negative stories written by the same guys who were gushing about these two last week.

I know that it's the sensational that sells papers, just as it brings ratings to sports talk radio. But I'm not going to climb on the rollercoaster of making judgments on these young pitchers based on their last start. I want to see how Maine and Perez bounce back from these two stinkers.

Oliver Perez may indeed become the top-of-the-rotation pitcher we all hope for, fulfilling the promise of another young lefty who was imprudently dealt away by the previous regime. He also might be the bust that so many skeptics predict. For now I'm content to watch him from start to start and see what enfolds.

I believe Rick Peterson has made a huge difference in the kid, but I understand that his fall from top prospect to the trash heap took two years. This salvage operation, if successful, will not be accomplished overnight. It's okay to hit a bump in the road. Now let's see how the kid responds.

Oliver Perez
TOTAL (2 Games)9.24468713.721.341-1

Box Score

Comments (5)

With starting pitchers we do speak in the context of seasons, but I think that Perez' next start is going to be important all by itself. We knew, at least we suspected, that Perez could lose his pitching motion; now we will see how he responds to this latest episode. I'm guessing he will work extra hard to relocate his release point and put this game behind him.

Darling pointed out that Oliver's problems seemed to surface when he had to pitch from the stretch, and suggested (with the bases full) why he didn't just go back to his full windup. Made a ton of sense to me; get the out, get off the mound, and maybe you can reload between half innings with the help of Coach Rick. But I guess Willie wasn't listening.

Of course I want both of them to succeed.

Yet no one knows how it will all work out with the two of them. b ut in the big picture, the team does have enough backups to fill the gap, even if the two of them fail.

And that is the bottom line, for it is the team that counts more then anything else.

I was at last night's game and Ollie was just brutal to watch in the freezing cold and occassional rain/sleet. But disappointed as I am about witnessing such a terrible game, I won't overreact about his status as a pitcher. I was far more disturbed with the Mets inability to get score off Adam Eaton. Other than the single by Reyes to lead off the game and the double by Beltran, there were no well hit balls off Eaton all night.

I guess we have to give everyone a pass until the weather warms up a little bit, but I expect better from this lineup. The most aggravating moment in the game (other than the Perez meltdown) was actually watching Moises Alou ground into a double play on the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded. This after Eaton gives up a double to Beltran, walks Delgado and hits Wright. I know he's a first ball swinger, but there has to be better sense than that for a hitter. Eaton was handing the game right back to the Mets and Alou bailed him out with his impatience. Not to mention he sucked all the juice and energy out of the Mets faithful. And let's not forget stranding Reyes at 3rd yet again with less than 2 outs (1st inning).

No one is hitting the panic button at all, but after the hot start the offense has really not been very good. The 8th inning of the home opener was more a product of Phillies' errors than a result of good Met hitting. If this team is going to win and have any chance, the offense has to get back in gear. It doesn't have to be spectacular to win, but it does have to be fundamentally sound.

I agree, this was a collective Met loss. The Mets simply refused to win last night given many oppurtunities.

Call me crazy, but even in the 7 walk effort I felt Ollie was better. If for no other reason than he refused to throw a BP fB down the heart of the plate. I could not watch but I AM alarmed that Ollie and maine's effort mirrored each other in the walks. My eyes and ears came from the blogs who were screaming that Ollie was being squeezed. Anyway we will see. For now I am pleased that the 2 walked in was not followed by a GS homer, as happened last year...

The other game in game observation was how well sele demonstrated he can fullfil the role of Darren Oliver.

Dan - From what I read -- before I got the headache and stopped reading -- he was struggling in warmups, too. I think he started pressing after a couple of walks in the third, and I'm not sure anything would have saved him at that point.

I think all of his starts are going to be important for the first couple of months. He needs to build up some level of confidence that he can survive when things don't go his way.
Anonymous - I agree the team is more important than the success of any single player. I do think that the Mets need for one of the two to succeed, however. Of their young pitchers, M & P are the only ones with much major league experience from last season. Vargas had some, but that was 2 years ago now.
Salman - The ball that Alou hit for the DP was scorched, but unfortunately right at Utley. I get your point, though.
Ed - We differ here. I'd rather see a guy give it up with hits than walks.

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