The New Man Crush In Town
Oliver Perez is an enigma of enigmas. He spent 2004 laying waste to the National League and asserting him as one of the best pitchers in the league. He was the best lefty outside of Randy Johnson and had the second best slider behind the afformentioned big nasty himself. 2005? Not so much. This year, Perez has done much of the same. 40% of his starts in 2006 resulted in less than five innings pitched and he has been very streaky.
With the Mets, he has posted ERAs of 9.00, 21.00, 0.00, 7.20, and 5.06 in each game started for them. Aside from his shut out, he has 9.33 ERA with the Mets. Statically speaking, he has sucked and sucked like a champ. He has a 6.26 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 9.55 H/9, and 4.28 b/9. He has looked like the second coming of Victor Zambrano at times with his ability to dazzle and implode in a matter of seconds and yet we love this guy. Why?
For one, I am caught up in the hype. Very few pitchers in this league can make professionals take silly swings like Oliver Perez's slider can induce. When it is on, it is one of the very best and watching him toss it is swell. As for his fastball, despite not throwing 98 mph anymore, he can still dial it up to 94 when he wants and still works in the low 90's. Hard throwing lefties are hard to come by and Oliver Perez is definitely one. Lastly, the kid has flair. He is emotional on the field and has some quirks that make him an intense and very interesting player.
Oliver Perez is a work in progress. I do not think anyone would argue that point. The guy is still erratic, but suprisingly enough, his bad numbers with the Mets still represent an improvement. His ERA is down however slightly, his WHIP is down by 0.46, his k/9 has increased 3.04, his h/9 are down 1.37, and his b/9 are by 1.99. He still has a ways to go, but the Mets have appeared to tighten up his mechanics and set him down a better path than he was going in Pittsburgh. Is our collective man crush on him warranted? Maybe not, but not many players have generated such a curiousty with the Met fan base as Oliver Perez.
The Mets' announcement officially ends a 38-year relationship with the Tides.
"We would have liked to have had a little suspense to it from our end," Tides manager Dave Rosenfield said. "But the Orioles were our No. 1 choice all along."
Someone might need to talk David Wright in from a ledge at this point.
It is sad to see, but it really makes sense for the Tides from a logistical standpoint since they are affiliated with the second closest possible franchise to them and most baseball fans down there are in fact Oriole fans. While there might be some Met fans because of the Tides, they were far from the majority I would guess (Jake can maybe correct me on this). Now the Mets are in the PCL and are affiliated with the New Orleans Zephyrs and I for one will be more than happy to make a pilgrimage down there to take in some Zephyr baseball.
"I was real happy with the way everything went," Martinez said. "I was really cautious and smart about the way I handled myself out there. I got a little stiff in my leg [in the fifth inning] so I was really cautious not to do too much. But I think everything was really positive."
Martinez threw 87 pitches, 52 for strikes, mixing effective off-speed curveballs and change-ups with his less-than-90-mph fastballs. Randolph said before the game that he hoped Martinez would have "a few easy innings" and indeed, Martinez rolled through the first four, not surrendering a hit while striking out five. But there was some mirage effect.
Martinez was twice helped out by stellar defensive plays -- right fielder Shawn Green made a sliding catch to open the game and center fielder Endy Chavez made a streaking, diving snow-cone catch in the fourth, both on fly balls by hard-luck leadoff man Hanley Ramirez. But Randolph saw more than good luck.
He looked sharp. The good plays certainly help, but he did have no hits. It's not like he gave up five hits and got those good plays as well. I was very happy about the performance I saw for his second start back.
The Mets need to carry six starters in the playoffs simply for the reason that there is fragility. I expect Pedro to be ready to go, but in case of emergency, the Mets need to be prepared. You would like to carry as many relievers as possible, but those are the pit falls of having an old rotation.
Mets manager Willie Randolph said it was "general soreness" that kept Carlos Beltran out of his third straight game Thursday, but the center fielder revealed after the game he's battling an upper quad strain on his left side. "I did some sprints [Thursday] and for the first couple it wasn't good, but after I got loose, it was better," he said.
Monday night, the Mets clinched their first division title since 1988, an anticlimactic event that had been coming since around Memorial Day. The Mets are the best team in the National League this year, and at their best, maybe the best team in baseball.
Three friends of Barry Zito told SI.com they believed that the free-agent-to-be pitcher would like to play in either New York or for one of the three Southern California teams. "He's real serious about his acting career," explained one of Zito's friends.
And yes, he is not Oswalt. He doesn't bring it 95 mph. But that doesn't mean he's not good.
The recent Post story quoted an unnamed Mets official as saying Zito "is no Oswalt." And it's true Oswalt won 20 games in 2004 and '05 and Zito hasn't done it since 2002. But unlike Oswalt, Zito has a Cy Young award, has never been on the disabled list and has thrown 200 innings six straight years. He's currently 16-9 with a 3.91 ERA. "One had a big arm, and the other is a dominant control pitcher," Boras said. "I guess it's like a Nolan Ryan vs. Greg Maddux debate."
"[Mike] Mussina doesn't get hammered at all," he told SI. "He's making a boatload of money. Giambi's making [$20.4 million], which is fine and dandy, but it seems those guys get a pass. When people write [bad things] about me, I don't know if it's [because] I'm good-looking, I'm biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team ..."
I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.
Defend A-Rod on this one Benny.