Can Anyone Put An End to All This Ollie Hoo?

March 27, 2009

After signing a three-year deal with the New York Mets in February, Oliver Perez did what any normal 27-year-old making $12 million a year would do. He went to Mexico and got fat. The Mets coaching staff up until now has been repeating the words, Serenity Now, as they try to address the recently disconcerting performances of two of their starting pitchers, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine. With manager Jerry Manuel being reduced to spewing epic movie references and uncontrollable bursts of laughter, his pitching coach has had enough. “I think he’s out of shape,” Dan Warthen said, speaking about Perez. “The arm is out of shape. He needs to start pushing himself a little more.”

Since the left-hander was brought over to New York in a trade, he has been every pitching coach’s pet project. When Rick Peterson was with the Mets, his advice to the fans was to just hop on and enjoy the ride. Former manager Willie Randolph followed suit by simply responding with, “That’s Ollie.” But Warthen projects himself as someone who doesn’t just pack up his tent when he senses the slightest storm up ahead. It seems as if he is in it for the long haul and will continue to make every effort to solve the riddle of Ollie Perez until it kills him. “Ollie’s a guy that has to repeat his delivery time and time again, with a lot of volume delivery-wise,” Warthen said.

It’s no surprise to Mets fans that their erratic left-hander has found himself in hot water as of late. On any given day, Perez is capable of walking the bases loaded. He’s even been known to cruise along for three innings and then suddenly find himself nine runs down in the top of the fourth. I have personally witnessed both sides of the spectrum. Last year, I went to a Mets game at Shea Stadium in which Perez was the starting pitcher. Six innings in and the damage was irreparable. I left, later learning that the final score was 14-1 in favor of the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, like most people, I like to stay positive. I did get to witness a well-disciplined outing in which the unpredictable left-hander was given the victory. He efficiently shut down the opposition helping the Mets to a much-needed victory down the stretch against the Florida Marlins.

There are two sides to every coin just as there are two sides to every story. The story for the Mets and their fans now is whether or not the southpaw will be ready to go on April 9th which happens to be his first start of the regular season. “We’ll find out,” Warthen said. “I certainly hope so. He’s set back probably at least 10 days,”

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