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Return of the Ace

Mike SteffanosSaturday, June 16, 2007
By Mike Steffanos


Mets 2 - Yankees 0
Played Friday, June 15, 2007

Oliver Perez had a rough time of it his last time out in Detroit. Those of us who have been watching him all season kind of knew he'd come back with a good one in the Bronx last night. The real question was would the Mets generate enough offense for it to matter. Thankfully, Jose Reyes had the right answer to that one, too, and it gave the Mets just enough to end the losing streak and take game one of the 2007 Subway Series, Part Deux.

To steal a analogy, Perez is like a box of chocolates -- you never know quite what you're going to get. There are days when he goes out there and actually puts the vast majority of his pitches where he's aiming them. Last night, Lo Duca admitted after the game that Ollie only hit his glove a handful of times all evening. Yet his fastball and slider were both great, and he was able to battle through some dicey stretches. His perseverance was rewarded by 7-1/3 scoreless innings and the sweet music of Yankees fans booing him as he hopped off for the final time in the eighth inning.

Oliver Perez (Last 5 games)
DateOpp.IPRERHKBBHRERAWHIPTeam Result
5/23@ATL70045200.000.86W
5/29SFG73358033.860.71W
6/3ARI73345303.861.00L
6/9@DET55574519.002.40L
6/15@NYY7.10056300.001.09W
Season (13 Games)83.03527637629102.931.118-5

View Oliver Perez' Full Season Stats

Pedro Feliciano and Joe Smith did their jobs in the eighth for one out each, although for Feliciano it was fortunate that Abreu hit his ball to the deepest part of the ballpark. Wagner was dominant in the ninth.

And so the Mets get a big win that we could hope might be the start of a better stretch of play. The offense still isn't there, but it was a quality win against a quality team that's been on a roll. Speaking of that, Jeter and A-Rod are the starts in that lineup along with Posada and Matsui, but the Yankees cranking their offense up coincided with Abreu finally becoming Abreu again. He's not quite worth the huge salary at this stage of his career, but he's a heck of a hitter when he's right.

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 (5)

Ollie seems to be most effective when he has a little streak of wildness in his game. When he's hitting every spot, he looks like he has no-hit stuff. But that's when he tends to try to do too much and gets into trouble. When he's a little wild like last night, given his dominant arsenal, hitters just look baffled. They don't know if the next pitch is going to hit Lo Duca's target, race for the backstop a foot wide, or dive into their inner ankle. It was not by luck that the Yankees were swinging wildly all over the place.

That's just the sort of win the Mets needed. A shutout performance from their starter, shutdown stuff from the pen, and aggressive offensive play. The scoreboard didn't reflect their effort (mainly because of the men LOB by Delgado and Lo Duca), but last night the Mets played like the Mets.

Lets take care of business in the Bronx today!

I have to fess up, I was waiting for the fall, the later it went, thet 2 runs just didn't seem to be enough. But wow the pitching was great. I really love this kid Joe Smith. I know I keep saying how cool he is, but hes so cool.A packed Yankee Stadium, Jetter on base, A Rod at the plate, 2 out, fans going nuts and he looks so cool and in control. 1-2-3 A Rod is done. Inning over. The kid is good. I am growing to trust him more and more in tight spots.I don't know about anybody else but I really needed that win last night. My wife can put the straight jacket away for awhile, it was like a breath of fresh air and I can relax alittle.(I think? )

Ollie: 8-5 record BEFORE the break, possibly 10 wins before the game. Who would have guessed? I prognisticated he would return to the SD 2005 stats...12-10/13-9 record replacing T(r)axx, but this is far better. I'd like to see how he compares to mike Hampton's 2000 season. On his wildness...when he gets hit (at least in my gameday view) its because he keeps hitting the SAME spot pitch after pitch...the result a big hit after he has the hitter behind in the count. He needs to get hitters to chase HIS pitch ala Pedro.

Gotay:

Gomez looked alot like Endy last night he as much as Reyes deserved a game ball, in fact it was that catch picked Ollie up...

Mike, great analogy! Perez is exactly like that; you absolutely never know what to expect from one game to the next with him. When he is just wild enough like last night, it must be extremely uncomfortable being in the batter's box against him. Just finished listening to today's game on MLB.tv radio; I am continually amazed at how little emotion the team shows after these many bad losses. You would think that one of them would go off at some point, because I know I certainly feel like doing so! I am not usually a fan of firing coaches in-season, but I now feel that Down has got to go. Even though moves like that are cosmetic, someone has to take some heat for the failure to have good at-bats (let alone get a hit) with runners in scoring position, and we know the players aren't going to take the blame. There is much too big a comfort zone for the players and coaches on this team, and I think they need to have their cage rattled. I'm sick of hearing about how long the season is and all the other cliche's that we constantly hear; I've mentioned how "off" the team has appeared to be so far this year, and they show no signs of flicking that switch to "on" anytime soon. Maybe it's time to get everyone's attention.

Salman - I think Perez' biggest problem is that he loses his concentration and his arm slot at times. Sometimes it's from having to pitch out of the stretch, which is why he could lose it suddenly in a game he has been dominating. I think he will get more consistent as he keeps pitching, and that long-term success will depend on being able to locate his stuff.
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Al - All we got was a one-day reprieve. Tell her to keep the sj handy.
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Ed - I have to admit that Gomez is surprising me a little. No matter how much he struggles at times his confidence never seems to take a beating.
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George - Well, Forrest Gump's mom should get the credit for the analogy. As for firing Rick Down, I've never been a fan of firing coaches personally. The players have to be accountable. It could happen, though, if this continues.

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