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A Rare Easy Win Gives Mets the Sweep

Mike SteffanosThursday, September 4, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Game 140: Mets 9 - Brewers 2

This game wasn't completely sweat free, but with the Mets jumping out to a 6-0 first inning lead and never holding less than a 4-run bulge, this was as close as it gets for Mets fans to a complete laugher.

I have a lot on my plate today, so just some quick observations:

It was good to see Ryan Church really drive the ball again, but I also like the fact that he's starting to hit the ball well to the left side, too. The reason he carried this team at times early on was that he wasn't trying to pull everything. I wish David Wright would get away from that, too, and his sac fly to drive in the final run was promising in that regard.

Ollie Perez has had a number of games this year without a lot of walks, but he's still handing out free passes at a generous rate. His best two months of the season were July and August, with a 1.38 and 3.52 ERA, respectively. His walk rates per nine innings those two months was 4.1 and 4.0.

He's never going to be a pinpoint control guy, but as long as he's competing and not putting too many guys on you have to live with it. He is what he is, and it works for him. It's part of the package, along with those slow curves that he gets over maybe once out of every ten times he throws them.

There's quite a bit of disagreement over whether the Mets should try to re-sign Ollie after the season. To me, if they could get him on a four year deal it's a no brainer, and I'd consider five. He's young, he loves to compete, and he's proven he can do it New York.

Is he a risk? Sure, but isn't every pitcher a risk in some regard? Pitchers are fragile beings, and you have to decide what an acceptable level of risk is when you are making one of these decisions. For all of Ollie's volatility, it seems to me just as big a risk to bring in a new guy and hope he can cope here. For a reference, think Kenny Rogers.

I've stated previously that I don't think handling a bullpen is Jerry Manuel's best skill as a manger, but that doesn't mean I think he mismanages it as some of his critics do. He's in a tough position with a bullpen that reflects somewhat poorly on those who put it together, and then got compounded with Wagner's injury.

I really do think he needs to lighten up a little with guys like Stokes, Smith and Feliciano who are out there virtually every day. On the other hand, I don't have a problem with the use of Sanchez and Schoeneweis to close it out yesterday.

Sure, Jerry could have used one of his September call-ups, but I understand his desire to end the road trip with as little late game drama as possible. With off-days today and Monday there is some built-in rest, and neither Sanchez nor Schoeneweis have been used hard of late.

Sanchez was pitching for the second day in a row, but before that hadn't pitched since Saturday. Before that one he hadn't pitched since Tuesday.

Schoeneweis had pitched previously Sunday and before that Tuesday.

I wish he could have avoided using Joe Smith to get the final out in the seventh, as it was Joe's fourth game in a row and ninth in the past 12 days. Even a guy who throws to one or two batters could use a few more days off than that. On the other hand, the Brewers had cut the lead to 4 on Hardy's home run, and the game was anything but decided at that point.

It's easy to jump on Jerry's almost Torre-like usage of some relievers, but when every game is must-win and your guys are all specialists, it's hard not to use the ones who are getting people out over and over again.

On the other hand, keeping in mind that many of these guys who have pitched so often have also warmed up in games where they haven't been used, there is a danger that these guys may run out of bullets during the stretch run. It's really important for Manuel and Warthen to give these guys some days off -- particularly Smith, Feliciano, Stokes and Ayala.

View Oliver Perez's Full Season Stats

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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