By Mike Steffanos
Despite the fact that he has made only one spring training start we here at Mike's Mets are ready to completely give up on Oliver Perez.
Sure, at first we actually were impressed that Perez was pitching with better balance and throwing strikes. We were also happy that he was hitting the low 90s on the radar gun and thought he was showing some progress with his changeup -- a pitch that will be vital to any hopes of Ollie improving his splits against right-handed hitters.
Indeed, I have to confess to you that I actually was feeling decent about Perez' 3 innings against the Nats on Sunday after it was over, especially since it was only his first official outing of the spring. The combination of common sense and four decades of being a baseball fan had lulled me into a false sense of belief that spring training was about working on things that will help you win games when they count.
I want to thank the local media for waking me up and showing me the error of my ways. Already in midseason form with predictions of gloom and metaphoric Armageddon, particularly the New York Post, I promise to spend the rest of spring training living and dying on every pitch, batted ball and play in the field.
If a rookie gets a couple of hits one day, I will demand a roster spot for the kid. Of course, if he goes 0-10 later in the spring I will with equal force insist that Minaya trade him before his value plummets to nothing. I'm confident that heavy consumption of alcohol will get me past any misgivings my rational mind may have about such irrational thinking.
Bill Madden, who is certainly old enough to know better, has taken a precious day away from his endless Yankees coverage to remind Mets fans like myself that we have no reason for optimism, and who am I to argue with such a venerable representative of the local fourth estate?
Fortunately, I feel if I can make harsh judgments about Perez based on so little, I can allow myself to indulge in some Hisanori-mania based on the Japanese southpaw's impressive 3 innings in relief of Ollie.
If we take Mr. Takahashi's stat line and project it out over 200 innings, we can expect him to allow only 67 hits while striking out an amazing 400 batters and walking none. Now I know what you're thinking, it's probably unreasonable to expect him to not allow an earned run all season, but I'm confident that very, very few of those 67 baserunners will ever reach home plate.
Obviously, the Mets have now found the number two starter they have been looking for -- Johan Santana. With him slotting in behind his fellow southpaw Takahashi, the Mets are now the unmistakable favorite to represent the National League in this season's fall classic.
This should also get Santana off the hook for allegedly answering "Johan" when posed the question who was the best pitcher in the NL east. Clearly he had answered "Hisanori" and the reporters misquoted him.
If any of you think me rash for basing the preceding four paragraphs on only 3 innings of pitching, I would have to point out that the guys at the Post felt they could make their pronouncements about Perez based on the same amount of data.
For now, I think the only way forward is for the Mets to cut their losses with Ollie and release him immediately. Meanwhile, let's make sure to schedule upcoming spring starts so that Takahashi will be in line to pitch opening day against the Fish and Johan is ready for his start two days later.
Of course, I reserve the right to absolutely and completely about face on all of this if Perez pitches well next time out and Mr. Takahashi returns to earth. After all, that's what spring training is all about -- not the players preparing for the season, but for the local media and some fans to make snap judgments on anything that fits the narrative they're trying to create.