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Perez Hops to Another Big Win

Mike SteffanosSaturday, May 19, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 3 - Yankees 2

A lot has been made in the press of Oliver Perez' up and down season. Yes, going into last night's game against their cross-town rivals Perez had gone W-L-W-L-W-L-W in his first seven starts, but he wasn't that bad against the Nationals on April 27, and his loss to the Giants on May 7 was more reflective of one bad inning that featured atrociously shoddy defense. In reality, he's done pretty well since that bad start against the Phillies his second time out.

Not only did he win last night, but he also beat the Yankees without his absolute best stuff. Perez didn't have the pin-point control he's shown in his really dominant starts up to now, but he used his slider to great effect -- both the hard, sharp down-breaking one and the softer version that kept the Yanks off balance. After looking a little geeked for the first inning, Perez settled in nicely and channeled his emotions into retiring batters.

Frankly, I've reached the point with Perez where I expect him to pitch like he did last night, particularly in a game with a lot of juice. Moreover, he's now giving the team length into games as well as quality. Despite pitching a combined 7-1/3 innings in those bad starts against Philly and the Giants, Perez is averaging over 6 innings per start thanks to averaging over 7 innings in his other 6 starts.

There's still work to be done with Oliver Perez, but it's all about tweaking and improving rather than dramatic overhauling. The Mets showed a lot of faith in Perez over the winter and were ripped for it by a lot of the media. A quarter of the way through the season, looks like the Mets are enjoying the last laugh on this one.

Since last season I've maintained that if I had a kid who was learning to play ball, I'd show him a lot of video of Endy Chavez' fielding and baserunning. Last night Endy came up with a pair of highlight reel plays with the outfield assist and the home run that essentially won the game for New York. As much as I enjoyed those 2 plays, I love watching him do the routine stuff. Watch how he positions himself to throw while making a play on a fly ball. Check out the absolute textbook way that he rounds a base when he's motoring -- he's flying, but there is no wasted energy as he perfectly cuts the inside of the bag. When Endy makes a mistake, especially in the field or on the bases, it's actually a shock -- mostly because it almost never happens.

Not much to b**ch about concerning Billy Wagner this season, is there? The scratch (and questionable) hit by Matsui last night was only the third baserunner (2 hits and a walk) Wagner has allowed in 7 scoreless outings so far in May. He wanted to lessen the "drama" this year, and I'd say that fits the bill.

Finally, although Carlos Gomez didn't cover himself in glory last night, with the error and some tentative OF play, I thought it was great that they were able to give him a taste of playing in a big game with an electric crowd. He looks like the real thing so far, and like last night's starting and winning pitcher, he seems to thrive on the big stage. Those are the players -- the anti-McReynolds and -Rogers -- that seem to do well in New York.

Oliver Perez (5-3)
TOTAL (8 Games)49.2241638481662.901.095-3

Box Score

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (7)

Moises A-Who?

Oh, never say that! Moises is all right, he's just not young or particularly exciting.

I think Gomez was a trifle overwhelmed to be playing on that stage last night. Bet you he gets over it overnight.

It probably won't happen, but I would love to see Perez join Billy Wagner on this year's All Star team. He has been that good.

For what it's worth: the Mets are 26-7 in games not started by Mike Pelfrey and Chan Ho Park. Pelfrey had a good outing for New Orleans the other night.

Ollie has had three or four bad innings the entire year. It's his misfortune that they resulted in three losses. He's an All-Star in my book (but my book doesn't include entries on what pitchers on a lot of other teams are doing, myopic as I am at the moment).

You should check your "Book" again . I count one bad outing by Perez this year and another that might be considered bad if you ignore how our defense abandoned him . After that he has been very good !

I was at the Friday night Yankee game Mike, and Perez really impressed me. He looked to not have his
A stuff in the first inning, surrendering a hit and 2 walks. And his fastball was never really pounding hitters for consistent strikes. But he really maintained his poise and gutted out 7 2/3 innnings of well pitched baseball on a night that Andy Pettitte looked great.

He's come a long way as a pitcher. Most were concerned that he'd bounce between good and bad througout the season. In reality, he has been bouncing between great and good.

Another fine Minaya creation.

Let's get that sweep today!!

I think I am getting better with this years Mets. Last year there would be a tv with a chair in the screen out side for garbage pickup. This year, even if they are making me chew on a bottle of tums and make me turn off the tv,they pull me back in a minute or so. I just can't give up on them because they don't give up on themselves. Like wow 5-1, ninth inning one out and they win 6-5. Yesterday was close to chair in the tv day. I felt real good at the score 6-2, even better at 8-2, even 8-3 was ok. But 8-6 was oh boy I can't take this anymore and had to leave the room. My wife gave me updates and at 10-6, I felt it save to go back in the water. But the ninth inning I was looking for the tums again. Then 10-7 was oh boy here we go again, but I some how stayed with them, last year Selma woud be calling the church to pray for me. So I think I am getting better but it's not easy.This is a fighting team and the best is yet to come. I am going to my room now to write that 500 times.Lets sweep today.

Sydd - That might be a tad premature at this point.
dd - Perez on the All-Star team is a real possibility. What odds do you think we could have got on that before the season started?
Greg - I like to think that the rest of the NL is the Washington Generals to our Harlem Globetrotters.
Eduardo - He said "innings" not "outings".
Salman - amen on the sweep.
Al - It was a nail-biter, wasn't it? All the worse because it never should have gotten close after it was 8-2.

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