Ollie and his Woes Continue
New year, same old Ollie. Yesterday in a Spring Training start in Port St. Lucie against the Detroit Tigers, Oliver Perez was shelled for six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. He put 11 men on base for a WHIP of almost 3. Sure it's just Spring Training, but this brings up a red flag. He walked 6 and gave up 5 hits, and gave up a homer to our old friend from the Phillies, Placido Polanco, known more for his spectacular defense rather than hitting bombs off of a pitcher who wanted a $15 mil/year salary in the off-season.
Dan Warthen, the pitching coach who turned around Perez's season last year was extremely worried about this start.
"I think he's out of shape, the arm is out of shape," Warthen said. "It's a combination. Since he's come back we really haven't seen the life out of the hand, the ball is just not jumping out right now ... I think he's gained a little weight and needs to start pushing himself a little more."
When I checked my phone for the score of the game yesterday I was shocked to see how much Perez struggled in this one. He pitched fine last Friday against the Orioles, a lineup that contained most, if not all, of the Orioles starters, not including highly touted C Matt Wieters, who relieved starting C Gregg Zaun. Looking back at Ollie's stats, however, I noticed he didn't strike anyone out in his three innings of work. He walked two, but didnt give up any runs and only one hit. I didn't catch any of Perez's outing yesterday, but it seems his velocity and command, which fluctuates more than the Dow Jones on any given day during his entire career were terrible. Anytime a pitcher walks six men in not even four innings of work should be seen as horrible, but in Ollie's case, we all know he is prone to throw five perfect innings and then in the sixth just totally crumble.
As Omar Minaya and The Wilpons welcomed Perez back with a 3 year/$36 million deal this winter, I'm sure they, as well as us, expected this inconsistency to be a thing of the past, or to a smaller extent, not as glaring as it used to be. With John Maine pitching today, it is yet to be seen if Warthen's work with him will be a success. But it looks like Dan has his hands full with Ollie again, just like Jacket er, um Rick Peterson had with Perez ever since he joined them on July 31, 2006. Perez has, for the most part, pitched well in big games (see: Game 7, 2006 NLCS; Game 162, September 28, 2008), but his continued ability to crumble after domination is something of an anomaly, or as I like to call him, an enigma.
I caught the end of yesterday's 10-6 loss to the Tigers and seen Brian Stokes pitch two fabulous innings. In that time, he allowed no baserunners and struck out two men. At this point, Stokes' power arm is sure to make the final cut but it has yet to be seen if young Bobby Parnell would make it. He's only 24 and throws in the mid-90's as well. If the Mets break camp with both hard throwing righties, the Mets could have one of the nastiest bullpens in the league. Putz, Parnell and Stokes can really heat it up with 95+ mph and O'Day and Green can get the best right-handed hitters out with Feliciano returning to hopefully his 2006 form and retiring the likes of Howard, Utley, etc.
I look to begin writing Mets Beast more often. I am currently a freshman in college and maybe this will help me get away from the constant work I have to deal with. 2009 looks like a real promising year for the Mets, and I hope I can finish off my Spring semester the way the Mets should finish the 2009 season.