Posts Tagged ‘Oliver Perez’

For 2010, Mets Ask Fans to Just Believe

February 15, 2010

In the next few days, the city of Port St. Lucie, Fla. will be officially open for business as it kicks off the Spring Training portion of the Mets 2010 season. Coming off such a sour year in which they finished in fourth place with ninety-two losses, a fresh start is most definitely in order.

With injuries to key players and poor pitching being the main causes for such a forgettable season last year, heading into this upcoming season ultimately pain-free and ready to go is all you can expect at this point. If you speak to anyone affiliated with the Mets from season ticket holders down to those responsible for checking their tickets you would be met with the same consensus.

“I believe that we are going to improve,” Mets ace Johan Santana has said. “We weren’t a full team last year.”

“Baseball is a fun game,” he added. “If guys try to do too much… and not try to do someone else’s job, we will be fine.”

Even though the Mets front office, ownership included, were unable to acquire a front-line starter to complement the left-handed Santana, there is no question that Mets players and coaches are excited to get this part of the baseball season underway.

Along with newly-acquired free agent slugger Jason Bay, the Mets expect to have their catalyst back, shortstop Jose Reyes, at one hundred percent. With a healthy Reyes in the Mets lineup, manager Jerry Manuel would likely have lesser things to worry about.

Pitching Coach Dan Warthen, on the other hand, is banking on three of his projected starters, Oliver Perez, John Maine, and Mike Pelfrey, to undergo a complete turn-around from last season. Maine and Perez are coming off injuries and Pelfrey is searching for whatever was lost during his second full season with the Mets.

“Pelfrey loves the challenge,” Santana said. “He’s dropped twenty pounds and has been telling a lot of people that he wants to win.”

“Maine has the stuff to be a starter,” he added.

Regarding Perez, Santana replied, “Ollie has to get back to being Ollie.”

Not only will the Mets not have one of their perennial leaders in centerfielder Carlos Beltran at the beginning of the season due to injury, they will also not be carrying veteran Carlos Delgado as well. Delgado has remained unsigned as he makes his comeback from major hip surgery.

“When I think of a veteran, I think of a leader, like Carlos Delgado,” Maine said in a recent interview with Mets Blog’s Matthew Cerrone. “Someone else is going to have to fill that void. I just think what he’s done, who he is, and his demeanor…he was perfect for that,” he added.

The theme of this season is entitled, “We Believe in Comebacks.” If the Mets can stay healthy and their starting rotation can perform to their potential, perhaps, Mets fans will allow themselves to start believing again and have faith that things are moving in a positive direction.

In closing, since 2006, the NL East division from top to bottom has gotten exponentially better. For the Mets to have a winning chance at the division this season, its imperative that they remain healthy and stay consistent throughout the year. And also hope that the players they currently have in place are able to produce better numbers than they have in the past.

Let’s Go Mets!

Mini-Camp Offers Some Progress

January 28, 2010

At the end of the day on Wednesday, the Mets concluded a three-day mini-camp inside Port St. Lucie, Fla., their Spring Training facility, and categorized it as a job well done. For manager Jerry Manuel that may be the case but what did Mets fans get out of this?

They have realized that for the time being, there will be no new faces but just happier more excited faces among their starting rotation. “I’m excited,” Oliver Perez said. “I feel very good.” Healthier and stronger, or even, leaner faces.

“The main key for us is to stay healthy, stay on the field.” Johan Santana said.

The harsh reality for the Mets pitching staff particularly their starters entering the upcoming season is that the majority of them has either undergone surgery or are rehabbing from injury.

“If we stay healthy, we can be very competitive this season.”

Some beat writers have used this mantra by GM Omar Minaya against him. They have proposed the idea that Minaya is already preparing his defense if the Mets happen to experience the same fate as last year’s.

For now, Mets fans have to entrust that Minaya’s lack of off-season moves will allow them to forget the past and look toward the future.

Mets Starting Pitching Has No One Else to Blame

August 24, 2009

Occasionally, in my day-to-day conversations with co-workers and friends, the topic of the New York Mets comes up. After agreeing that the team stinks and that they will not be making the post-season this year, I usually defend their performance by pointing out the enormous amount of injuries they’ve had to deal with. Nonetheless, after tuning into yesterday’s 9-7 loss to the defending World Series-champion Philadelphia Phillies, I have come to realize that injuries or not, the Mets lack good starting pitching.

Looking at their last four games, including Sunday’s outing by left-hander Oliver Perez and Wednesday’s embarrassing performance by righty Bobby Parnell, reinforces that notion. For Parnell, you can make the case that his ineffectiveness is because he started the 2009 campaign in the bullpen. He most likely wouldn’t have been given a chance to start for the Mets if lefty Jon Niese and right-hander Fernando Nieve weren’t on the disabled list. For Perez, who has been hindered by soreness in his right knee, the reasons for his disappointing pitching numbers are not so easy to assess.

In Perez’ fourteen starts thus far this year he has yet to pitch into the seventh inning. On Sunday, the Mets left-hander was yanked by manager Jerry Manuel after giving up six runs in just two-thirds of an inning pitched. With right-hander John Maine’s return to the starting rotation uncertain and the recent release of veteran Livan Hernandez, GM Omar Minaya will have his hands full heading into the 2010 season.

Robust Is One Way to Describe the Mets Offense

August 19, 2009

The war of words between Mets manager Jerry Manuel and Atlanta Braves centerfielder Ryan Church was brought to another level yesterday. Prior to the start of last night’s 9-4 victory by the Mets, Manuel took a jab at Church, questioning his inability to bounce back quickly from two very severe concussions last season. Manuel eventually apologized to his former player and now hopes that one of his current players, Oliver Perez, will be able to recuperate rather quickly from an injury as well. Perez, who earned his third win of the season last night, aggravated the same knee that kept him out for a large part of the season.

The good news is, the Mets offense exploded for seventeen hits. Outfielders Jeff Francoeur and Gary Sheffield along with second baseman Luis Castillo (who is now batting .306) each had three hits apiece. Fernando Tatis, who for the time being has replaced David Wright at third base, went 2-for-4. Atlanta starting pitcher, right-hander Derek Lowe, was roughed up for eight runs on eleven hits in just three and two-thirds innings of work. If you recall, the Mets were interested in Lowe as a number two starter to complement Johan Santana before the start of spring training. Instead, they went with the southpaw in Perez. With last night’s very impressive victory, I guess you could score one for the left-hander.

With Each and Every Defeat, Mets Fans Are Beginning to Stray

August 8, 2009

As the Mets continue to prove that they are only capable of lackluster play, it makes one begin to wonder if the remaining games of this season are really worth watching. In all honesty, I am growing tired of the inconsistencies of their offense, in their starting pitching, and currently, their bullpen. With that, my hat goes off to those Mets fans who have sacrificed their time and energy so far this season. Here’s a thought, the Mets could very well end this series against the Padres closer to the Washington Nationals than to the first-place Phillies.

Even though their starting pitcher, left-hander Oliver Perez, had a very solid performance last night it doesn’t take away from the fact that this Mets team plays like they just don’t care anymore. Since June, Jerry Manuel has accepted and expected mediocrity. Since the All-Star break, GM Omar Minaya has done nothing and continues to sit on hands and wait for his injured stars to return. I think it’s time to be realistic. Stop looking for that silver lining and start weaning your self off of Mets baseball, altogether.

For Manuel and Perez, Success Has Different Meanings

August 2, 2009

When left-hander Oliver Perez takes the mound for the Mets these days, manager Jerry Manuel is made to linger on the top step of the dugout. Since his return from the disabled list with patellar tendinitis of the knee, Perez has been unable to pitch into the seventh inning. Saturday night was no different as the left-hander needed a total of 112 pitches in order to complete just five innings.

“I don’t think we can continue to have a walk per inning and a hit per inning and expect to have success,” Manuel said.

In the case of the Mets skipper, success may mean not having to go to his bullpen so early and often in games that Perez starts. However when listening to the enigmatic Mets pitcher speak about his recent performance the meaning of success harbors on his propensity to record important outs. “I was in trouble but I made important outs,” Perez said. “I know I have a lot of work to do.”

Even though Jerry Manuel has always followed up his criticism of Perez with a strong respect for the southpaw’s competitiveness, he cannot be pleased by what he has seen thus far from his newly-minted pitcher.

For further reading, check out my previous post Oliver Perez, Take Two.

Perez Second Outing Since His Return, Not So Bad

July 17, 2009

In the bottom of the sixth inning of last night’s 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves, Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez was up around ninety pitches. He had runners on first and third with one out and the score tied at three apiece. After a visit from Mets Pitching Coach Dan Warthen, Perez was ready to go back to work. Following a strike out of Braves outfielder Matt Diaz and a couple of outstanding plays by Mets catcher Brian Schneider, Perez was able to force Casey Kotchman to hit the ball on the ground towards first baseman Daniel Murphy. Instead of throwing the ball to second base for the easy out, Murphy decide to flip the ball to Perez who was covering first base for the third out of the inning, job well done.

If the Mets are to give their fans anything to cheer about for the remainder of their season, coming up on the positive end of situations like the one during the sixth inning is a good place to start. Even though the second half for the Mets began with a loss, their left-hander showed that he had the ability to compete and pitch when he needed to. Perez, who went six solid innings last night, ended up with a no-decision surrendering just three earned runs and five hits. He did produce four walks however they were three less than what he had during his last outing. Perez also struck out six batters. His next start will most likely come against the Washington Nationals some time next week.

For further reading, check a previous post entitled Perez, Take Two.

Oliver Perez, Take Two

June 26, 2009

With Oliver Perez’ imminent return from the disabled list, Mets fans may want to start asking themselves if they’re ready for it. Looking back on Perez’ five starts this season may make you want to question whether the left-hander’s second act is worth waiting for. In defense of the good Ollie, he was suffering from what doctors diagnosed as patellar tendinitis of the knee. For the time being, we’ll have to take their word for it. Who knows, that might be just a medical term for bad mechanics. The only real evidence Mets fans have is that Perez was seen limping around the Mets clubhouse with ten pounds of ice strapped to his right knee after an embarrassing pitching performance against the Philadelphia Phillies. In that outing, Perez lasted just two and a third innings and surrendered five hits and four earned runs along with six walks.

This past Monday, the unpredictable left-hander participated in his first rehab start, a sixty pitch simulation with a ninety pitch outing to follow. Not to take anything away from the Port St. Lucie Mets, but six runs and seven hits in three innings, I would think that a $36 million pitcher has got to have a better showing than that. After the outing, Perez sounded upbeat. His knee was no longer an issue and his aspirations were indeed high. “My arm is okay,” he said, “I just have to go 100 pitches and I’ll be ready.” Oh, is that all? Why stop at a hundred? Perez makes it sound so simple, but you can’t blame Mets fans who may be skeptical when he takes the mound sometime next week.

From Afar, Perez May Be the Mets Good-Luck Charm

May 8, 2009

The greater the distance is between Mets left-hander Oliver Perez and his teammates, the more successful the ballclub has become. Since the organization’s decision to pull Perez from his next start, the Mets have won four games in a row and are just one half of a game out of first place. Isn’t it amazing how fast things change in less than a week? This past Monday, the $36 million left-hander was being optioned like a cousin once removed to the bullpen. The idea was for Perez to find his lost confidence and hopefully work out his differences. The Mets, on the other hand, went on to sweep a two-game series from the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

Following Wednesday night’s game, GM Omar Minaya made an impromptu announcement publicizing that Perez had previously undergone an MRI. The tests revealed that the southpaw was suffering from knee tendinitis. With that, Oliver was heading to the DL. That night, the Mets edged the Philadelphia Phillies, 1-0. With another win last night, the Mets may want to rethink their strategy concerning their disenfranchised starting pitcher. Is their a possibility for a trip to Siberia for Perez’ in the near future? That depends on how long the team can keep on winning.

Mets May Have to Make Perez an Offer He Can’t Refuse

May 3, 2009

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has been criticized of late for the way he has handled key situations within the last few games. Under a NY microscope, a manager’s decision not to pull his reliever when he’s unable to find the strike zone or call for a pinch hitter who is closer to the bullpen then he is to the dugout, is something that will definitely warrant attention. Nonetheless, Manuel will be criticized ten-fold on how he intends to handle a dejected Oliver Perez, who after yesterday’s dreadful performance against a familiar foe, has been rendered helpless. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Manuel said that the $36 million left-hander’s “confidence is shot.”

Factor in an old-fashioned ass-whipping by his general manager who verbally attacked every player on his 25-man roster in an effort to rile them up, you could say that Manuel has his work cut out for him. The Mets have been accused of having no heart, no team leadership, and while you’re at it, no reason to fight back. With a record of 0-12 when trailing from the seventh inning on, the abominable Oliver Perez could be seen as the least of the Mets worries. However, what to do with the now defunct left-hander must be addressed and a decision will ultimately have to be made.

Frankly, I think it’s time for the Mets to consider skipping the left-hander’s next start. Perhaps some downtime will help him get his head on straight and allow him to work out whatever it is that is ailing him. By then, the club could find a way to ease him back into the Mets starting rotation by way of successfully completing small assignments of one inning here and one inning there coming out of the bullpen.

“Everything will be considered,” Manuel said. “I’ll sit down with our pitching people, put our heads together and try to come up with a plan.” Some critics have suggested that the next step for the ineffective Perez is to send him down to the minors with the hope that he can turn things around. “If I need it,” Perez said, “I’ll have to go.”