A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Awful Oliver

Wow. In his last start, there were some positives to take out of Oliver's start. This game? Not so much. He was not missing by much last start, but he was all over the place to say the least in this start. On paper, his command was better with a higher strike to ball ratio, but his command was horrible. Much worse than his last start. When he was missing, he was missing badly. His problem of too many three ball counts to pitchers continued and he allowed fourteen baserunners in three innings and only struck out one.

"The problem was the location," Perez said.

You don't say....

As for Paulie Ballgame, this game was probably the eqivalent of two games catching. When you catch a guy like Pedro or Glavine, you put up the mitt and the ball hits the mitt. Good stuff all around. When you catch a guy like Ollie with the command he had last night, you are continually setting up and moving around for the baseball expending a lot of energy on every pitch. I'm sure at the end of the game Ballgame felt like he went a few rounds with Mike Tyson.

In the end, we knew this about Oliver Perez. I do not think anyone particularly thought he would figure into this year's pitching picture, but we were all enamored with the enigma and the lively left arm hanging from his body and wanted to see him. We saw him in two starts and he needs work. All of the real progress should be coming in the off season when Rick Peterson will earn his paycheck and try and solve Perez's problems. I still truly believe Oliver Perez will be in the rotation from opening day next season because I do think he is the type of player that excels under Rick Peterson. Of course this is contingent upon what is in Oliver's head and whether he is a good learner or a stubborn hot head. He's shown flashes of being the latter but we will not know until next year.

* * *

  • Just like when mommies cannot tell when their kids are ugly, it is hard for fans to be fair when evaluating their players. The other day I wrote about Carlos Beltran as the MVP, but it is nice to see a third party get involved. A fan of team from the American League and not in New York. There is no hatred from fans of rival team in town and no skewed sense of reality because they have a guy on their team that they believe should in fact be the MVP. Jason Churchill, who is a Mariner fan, wrote a piece on ProspectInsider.com in regards to the topic and did a fantastic job.

    He hit his 38th home run of the year Sunday, has 108 RBI and has scored 103 runs. Okay, sure, he’s hitting .286. But Shea Stadium is a pretty severe pitcher’s park, as are the road parks Beltran visits in Florida, Washington and to a lesser extent, Atlanta.

    Better yet, Beltran gets it done when it matters most.

    He sports a 1.210 OPS with runners in scoring position. That number actually goes UP to 1.267 with RISP and two outs.


    He has three grand slams in eight official ABs with the bases loaded this season and has a 1.335 OPS with a man on third and two outs.

    He has a 1.647 OPS versus division-rival Atlanta, including eight homers and 18 RBI in eight contests. Against Philly, he’s slugging .671 with six homers… against Florida? Beltran has a 1.023 OPS and versus Washington, yeah, again… a 1.171 OPS.

    Yikes is right. As if all that wasn't enough, there are more drool inducing stats.

    Beltran’s park-adjusted numbers are sickening - try these on for size.

    .303/.419/.689, 46 HR, 123 RBI. That’s through 129 games.

    Like I said, the discussion for MVP should start with Beltran and end with Beltran. He has shown to be more consistent than anyone and every facet of his game is scarily refined that I cannot think of one player more well rounded.

  • Studes goes over ten great pickups by Omar Minaya and really, every move he has made has worked out with the exception of Jose Lima and Jeremi Gonzalez.

  • Endy Chavez's career high in extra base hits was thirty five in 2003. It took him 141 games and 483 at-bats to get there. In 2004, he hit 31 extra base hits and it took him 132 games and 502 at-bats to get there. This year? 28 extra base hits in 108 games and 277 at-bats. In 2003, he was average one XBH every 15 plate appearances, in 2004 he averaged one every 18 plate appearances, and this year he is averaging one every 11 plate appearances. Endy has been impressive this year to say the least.

  • Nanny nanny poo poo...

    In talking about the playoffs earlier this week, Beltran suddenly brought up that the Astros never sent him the video from the 2004 postseason, which is when he almost carried them to the World Series. Beltran said that he had contacted the team, but didn't get a response -- or the DVDs.

    "I don't even have the videos," Beltran said. "I called Houston to send me the copies and they never sent anything. They were so mad that I left."

    Very grown up. I wonder if Carlos thinks he made the wrong choice?

    Did anyone catch the MVP chants Beltran was getting on the road? At times it seemed like the Mets were the home team in Denver. Really, really crazy stuff.

  • Those pro-basketball players just cannot figure out this international basketball thing.

    "To lose any game is a shock to us," U.S. star Carmelo Anthony said. "We came in with the mentality to win the game and the gold medal."

  • Michel Abreu is the B-Mets MVP.

    Michel Abreu was named the Binghamton Mets' most valuable player for the 2006 season on Thursday night.

    Abreu, a member of the Eastern League's season-ending all-star team, is hitting an Eastern League-best .334. Abreu, a Cuban defector who has played first base for the B-Mets, was leading the team with 70 RBI and was tied with Jay Caligiuri for the team lead in home runs with 17 going into Thursday's game.

  • Baseball Prospectus named their top twenty minor league pitching prospects and the Mets have three of them.

    7. Mike Pelfrey, Mets
    Age: 22.6 H/9: 7.57 BB/9: 3.08 K/9: 10.18

    The most well-paid pitcher in the 2005 draft, Pelfrey signed too late to make his debut last year, but he reached the big leagues this season after just 88 pro innings. At 6-foot-7, Pelfrey gets a strong downward plane on a sinking 92-95 mph fastball that has touched 98, and he commands the pitch well when many young and tall pitching prospects struggle to find a consistent release point. For anyone who saw his four big league starts, in which he had a 5.48 ERA and a sub-standard 13/12 K/BB ratio in 21.1 innings, Pelfrey's issues were clear. While the fastball is plus-plus, both his curveball and changeup are no more than average, and he lost confidence in the pitches, learning a difficult lesson about the need for a three-pitch arsenal. He's expected to get another look in September as the Mets put things into cruise control, so we'll see if he's made any adjustments. The secondary pitches don't have to be great, but he will need them to keep hitters on their toes.

    14. Philip Humber, Mets
    Age: 23.7 H/9: 6.99 BB/9: 2.52 K/9: 9.65

    Another one of those pitchers who had Tommy John surgery, returned quicker than expected and has looked as good as he ever did, if not better. Pitching very well in Double-A, both he and Pelfrey will compete for Opening Day rotation slots in 2007.

    19. Deolis Guerra, Mets
    Age: 17.4 H/9: 6.75 BB/9: 4.39 K/9: 7.18

    His ratios aren't great, but this is a guy born in 1989 (feel old yet?) who is already in the Florida State League and holding his own. Sitting at 89-91 mph with plenty of projection thanks to a 6-foot-5, 200 pound frame, Guerra's changeup is already a solid offering and his curveball has made great strides. The Mets need to slow down his development, but his ceiling is sky high.

    Not bad for a team that traded two that traded many of their top pitching prospects away over the past few years. Eleven teams had one prospect on the list, three teams had two, and the Mets were the only team with three. Fucking swell.

  • There were minor league baseball games played yesterday, but no one cared.
  • Thursday, August 31, 2006

    Preach On Brother

    Yesterday, I turned on the game a few minutes late and the Mets were still up in the first inning and the score was 4-0. This team has just been on fire lately and have been amazing to watch all season. The big talk of the day is how they now have the best record in the baseball in terms of winning % and as Ben Shpigel pointed out, other than 1986, when the Mets finished with the highest winning percentage in baseball, they have had sole possession of the best record in the majors this late in the season only once, through Aug. 31 and that was in 2000. I typically only like the Baseball Prospectus version of the power rankings because it removes the human element of bias towards the Mets, but CBS Sportsline hit the nail on the head. Not because they ranked the Mets #1 overall because that is certainly debatable, but because of their blurb about the Mets.

    It doesn't matter that their rotation is a mess and they play in the weak-sister league. Sure, they haven't been challenged, but they're playing the best baseball, no matter the opponent.

    Yes, the Mets have not been playing a high level of competition every series, but they have been annihilating opponents making them look like they do not belong on the same field, which is exactly what they should be doing. Whether or not the Mets are the best team in the bigs is an interesting argument. They certainly belong in the discussion and they may very well have the most well rounded team when you look at the lineup, the rotation, their defense, the bench, and the bullpen. They have a knack for doing everything well and this is the exact type of team Jim Duquette aimed to put together when he took over as GM as the Mets. He just did not get the finish the job, but he had the right idea.

    So far, the Mets are 28-11-4 (.651 winning percentage in terms of series) in their series this season. They have lambasted every team around and if this graph is not indicative of the Mets entire season, I do not know what is.

    It is almost comical when you look at the Mets ascent compared to a steady mix of crashing and mediocrity from everyone else in the NL East and the NL overall. There were plenty of years in which the Yankees fattened up on the Devil Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, etc. a few years ago when there was a great divide between the small number of competitive teams and the rest. In the past, the Yankees used to spend the regular season priming themselves for the post season and now the Mets find themselves in a similar situation. Should it be held against them that they are the only legitimate team in the National League? Fuck no. This team is nasty and this team is for real.

    * * *

  • Phil Humber was studly in Binghamton's 4-1 win over Portland. Humber picked up his first win at AA and went six innings and gave up four hits, no runs, and two walks while striking out six. He now owns a 3.18 ERA, 9.60 k/9, and a 1.16 WHIP in five games for Binghamton. Carlos Gomez went 1 for 4 with an RBI and Ambiorix Concepcion went 1 for 3.

  • Pavano might be done for the year.

    "I'm not saying he won't pitch for us this year," Cashman said. "I'm not saying he will, either.

    Way to state the obvious.

  • Delmon is making friends already.

    According to Guillen, Young stared into the White Sox' dugout before his last at-bat Tuesday, as if he was trying to send a message to the Sox manager for getting plunked in his first at-bat of the game.

    "I don't play that game," Guillen said. "He looked into the dugout and he looked at me ... and you don't know me. I'm a little upset about it. You don't look at me, you look at Freddy [Garcia] -- he's the one that hit you. He's the one, if you think he had reason to hit you on purpose, to stare at. He was staring at me in the dugout. You've only got two at-bats in the big leagues, kid.

    "I've been here long enough that if I hit somebody, it's somebody who's worth it. This kid hasn't done anything in the big leagues yet."

    Ziiiing! The D-Rays think differently and think it was on purpose. Could it have been a hit by Major League baseball to send Delmon a message?

    "[Bleep] Major League Baseball," Guillen said. "Like we're going to do something like that for them?"

    You have to love Guillen.

  • Ben Shpigel shows some love for the Mets unsung hero this season, their defense.

    The keys behind the Mets’ defensive consistency do not involve Gold Glove winners or any sort of flash or glitz, just steady play spearheaded by their strength up the middle. At catcher, Paul Lo Duca represents a significant upgrade over Mike Piazza. Carlos Beltrán catches everything hit his way and leads major league center fielders with 10 assists. And the double-play combination of shortstop José Reyes and Valentín has revealed a cohesiveness that conceals the limited time they have played together.

  • Victor Diaz is now a Ranger and that is probably a great place for him. He was traded yesterday to the Rangers for minor-league catcher Mike Nickeas.

    "Am I surprised?" Randolph said. "No, not really. He was going up and down focus-wise. I told him every time I sent him out that I wanted him to go down and focus and play hard and hustle and all of those things."

  • The Duque will be be back on Sunday.

    Orlando Hernandez is expected to start Sunday in Houston after making it through yesterday's bullpen session without a problem, and should be followed by Steve Trachsel on Monday when the Mets return to Shea to host the Braves.

  • I'm usually hesitant to proclaim anyone has broken out of slump after a hot game or two, but Wright really appears to be out of his slump.

    David Wright continued his recovery from an August swoon, collecting five hits and eight RBI in the first two games at Coors Field, including a first-inning grand slam Wednesday.

  • Hmmmm...

    Billy Wagner said he's still trying to figure out how to calculate earned-run average, so he's not about to delve into the world of Sabermetrics. But one number he might want to peruse is the Cy Young Predictor.

    Using a formula devised by numbers guru, Rob Neyer, along with famed numbers junkie Bill James, ESPN has posted a chart that lists the favorites for the Cy Young Award. And the NL leader is Wagner.

    Both the AL and NL have closers in first according to the Cy Young Predictor, but the likelihood of either one winning the Cy Young Award is slim. Johan Santana and Roy Halladay are still the front runners in the AL and Brandon Webb and Carlos Zambrano are still the front runners in the NL.
  • Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    You Mutha Fucka/Tough Decision

    1.67 WHIP....4.50 ERA....the offense giving him copious amounts of runs....another win.

    Steve Trachsel lives to annoy me and I live to be annoyed by Steve Trachsel apparently. He is once again tied for the National League in wins after another so-so start. However, he would have to win game seven of the World Series for me to no longer watch him and have a desire to punch babies and rip my eyes out. It is clear that he will be placed on the post season roster, but what is not clear is who will be left out?

    "You just don't give in," Trachsel said. "It comes with experience."

    Way to basically try and sell yourself to your own team who is enamored with veteran presence. The Mets will presumably slim their staff down to eleven pitchers in order to carry an extra bench player. But when you have a bullpen as deep as the Mets do, who gets knocked out? We know Pedro, Glavine, Maine, The Duque, and Trachsel will be there. That leaves six spots for the bullpen and the Mets have seven effective relievers. We know that Wagner, Heilman, Bradford, and Oliver and his .170 BAA to lefties will be there. That leave two spots for Feliciano, Mota, and Bert.

    Feliciano has been stellar and should go and Mota has the upside and showed some signs of waking up and should go as well. That ironically leaves the guy they traded their starting right fielder for to plug a hole in their bullpen. It is not even that he has been bad. He has actually been good with a sub 1.00 WHIP and a 2.89 ERA, but it's just a numbers game at this point and there are too many pitchers. When is the last time a team had that problem?

    The Nady trade might end up being useless come playoff time. The Mets replaced him with Shawn Green and though he has much less power, the difference is negligible and Omar at least has Oliver Perez as a wildcard now. He did what he had to do, but it looks like the Mets will not even need Hernandez's services. Omar made the move out of necessity at the time, but one has to wonder what Omar would have done had the Mota deal been in place earlier. Ultimately, Omar had no time to work things out and made the right call, but Bert may be home eating nachos come playoff time.

    * * *

  • Binghamton beat Portland 10-3 behind a nice start from Kevin Mulvey. Mulvey went 4.1 innings and gave up four hits, no runs, and two walks while striking out five and walked away with the no decision, a few pats on the ass, and some praise from Omar Minaya. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a double in the game to bring his average up to .285.

    St. Lucie played Palm Beach in a doubleheader yesterday. In game one, the Mets lost 5-2. Fernando Martinez went 0 for 3, Cliff Floyd went 0 for 3 with two K's and made Jaime Garcia's day in the process, Mike Carp went 0 for 3, and Jesus Flores went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and walk.

    In game two, St. Lucie walked away with the victory 4-1. Fernando's day did not get any better as he went 0 for 4 to see his average dip to .202. Mike Carp went 1 for 3 with a run scored, Cliff Floyd went 2 for 3, and Jesus Flores capped off a great day with a 3 for 3 game with three RBIs and his eighteenth and nineteenth homeruns on the season. Flores now his fifty extra base hits on the season which is just astounding and he has really catapulted himself into one of the top catching prospects in the game proving his 2005 year was the fluke rather than his 2004 year.

    In the Tides won 10-0
    over the....ah who the fuck am I kidding. No one cares what the Tides did.

  • Yikes.

    Informed the Astros had just given him a five-year, $73 million contract extension Tuesday night, ace righthander Roy Oswalt immediately placed a call to Weir, Miss., to give his father Billy the news. In the ensuing news conference, Oswalt fought off tears as he acknowledged his father's guidance.

    The bar has been set. Thanks Drayton. Anyone thinking Zito will be had for less than 5 years / $75 million is nuts.

  • Whenever you make a bad signing, just try and void it! Simple solution to a horrible problem!

    "It's a very strange story," a Yankee official told the Daily News. "It seems like there might be more to it, but you just don't know. Maybe there isn't. At this point, it doesn't look like we would have any grounds to void his contract."

    At least you gave it the old college try. At least Pavano has no trouble in terms of the Yankees taking his money, but in true American fashion, the guy he hit only recently found out the man that hit him was rich.

    Pavano's worries may not end there. The man driving the truck he hit suggested that despite the fact that neither he nor Pavano reported injuries at the time of the accident, he may sue the Yankees' $40 million pitcher for damages.

    Ernest DeLaura, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., told The News his shoulder "is all messed up. My doctor told me to stay in bed."

    DeLaura, who was driving a truck for the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County when he was hit, would not go into details about the accident. He referred a reporter to his lawyer, Larry Krasin, who told The News that he and his colleagues are investigating.

    When asked if he expected to file a lawsuit, Krasin said, "We are looking into the circumstances of the situation. There was an accident, and we have a client who was injured."

    Toasty, your kind makes me sick.

  • The Cards are done. Not that Mulder to the DL tipped the scales, they were done before that. Aside from Carpenter, their pitching is just too weak.

  • Beltran likes what he is doing.

    "I feel very happy to have the year that I'm having, being able to stay healthy most of the season and being able to contribute to the team," said Beltran, who crushed a 438-foot shot to center against Rockies starter Byung-Hyun Kim to top his previous season-high of 38 homers set when he split the season between the Royals and Astros two years ago.

    Any guy in the league would be happy to trade places with you with the year that you are having all around....well maybe not Ryan Howard. I think he is having some fun too.

  • Also from the above link:

    The Rockies (61-70) pulled within 4-3, but Reyes stranded the tying run at third base in the fourth when he fielded Todd Helton's grounder on the outfield grass behind second base and fired to Delgado at first to end the inning. It was the Mets' 11th straight error-free game, one shy of the club record.

    "That gets me more excited than anything else," Willie Randolph said.

    That is swell.

  • Even Cliffy is not immune to Randolph's fames non comittal answers.

    Mets manager Willie Randolph said there are no guarantees concerning injured left fielder Cliff Floyd when he is reinstated from the disabled list.

    Endy Chavez is providing consistent enough offensive production, and his defense is far superior to Floyd's, so one should not assume that when Floyd returns he will immediately trot out to left field.

    "We want to get Cliff going, but we still want to keep getting Endy into games," Randolph said. "A lot depends on how Cliff feels."

    One has to wonder how much interest a team will have that needs to depend on his bat and figures to be in some type of playoff race. He might be up for a platoon role here, but if not, he might find himself on some last place team somewhere trying to catch a healthy Cliff in 2007.
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Senior Perfeción

    As Dayn Perry pointed out the other day, Carlos Beltran is going to come close to breaking the all time record for extra base hits by a centerfielder in one season. Hack Wilson set the all-time mark of 97 set back in 1930 when he hit 35 doubles, 6 triples, and 56 homers. Wilson never hit more than 39 homers in any other season and only topped 30 four times, but put together one hell of season in 1930.

    This season, Carlos Beltran missed ten games due to leg problems. Overall, he has played in 117 of the Mets 129 games and started 114 of those games. With 33 games left, even if he plays all of those games he is on pace for 94. If Beltran does not go on a tear, it will be tough for him to make that number, though four more extra base hits than he is on pace for in 33 games hardly seems insurmountable.

    The fact that Carlos Beltran is even on pace to top a record that has stood for over seventy years that is as hard to attain as this one speaks volumes about the season he is having. He has the chance to do something that no one else has done in the history of the game. Before anyone points out to me that Reyes has that chance too, the thing that separates them is consistency.

    Out of four categories (AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS) for each month of the season (total of twenty categories), Carlos Beltran has been the model of consistency. Typically when a player hits .300, there are ups and downs. Hot months and cold months that even out to the players current average. Not so with Beltran. Out of twenty possible categories, Carlos Beltran has deviated 5% or less from his season averages fourteen of twenty times or 70%. He has deviated less than 10% nineteen of twenty times or 95%. That is absolutely staggering. Let's see how he stacks up against the other Met sluggers and one of the best in the game today:
                     5% or less     less than 10%
    Jose Reyes 3 of 20 / 15% 5 of 20 / 25%
    David Wright 9 of 20 / 45% 10 of 20 / 50%
    Carlos Delgado 5 of 20 / 25% 11 of 20 / 55%
    Albert Pujols 6 of 20 / 30% 8 of 20 / 40%
    The fact that Carlos Beltran deviated 5% or less of the time more times than everyone above deviated less than 10% of time tells us just how solid he has been. He has played in six more games than Pujols and is tied in homers and has one more RBI. Then you throw in Beltran's steals and the tremendous value he adds in center and you have your MVP. Anyone that says Pujols should get it hands down is just being ignorant. A case can be made for both, but there is something to be said for being the most consistent and best player on the best team.

    While other people slumped, Beltran just kept going. Carlos Beltran has remained the one constant thing from day through today for this Mets team that has gone through so many personnel changes and while other MVP candidates slumped, Beltran did not. Although he is getting MVP recognition, I do not think he is getting enough. When the discussion for MVP starts, it should end with Carlos Beltran as his accomplishments this season out shine anyone else's in the National League and maybe all of baseball.

    * * *

  • Lastings Milledge went 2 for 4 in Norfolk's 3-1 loss to Louisville.

    Portland beat Binghamton 10-0 and thanks to Carlos Gomez's 1 for 3 night, they did not get no hit.

    Palm Beach beat St. Lucie 6-2 in the first game of their doubleheader. Fernando Martinez went 1 for 4 with a stolen base and Mike Carp went 2 for 3 with an RBI.

    In game two, Jon Niese had a nice outing in his first start in high-A, but Palm Beach beat St. Lucie 4-1 and got three runs off of Niese. However, only one was earned as Jon went five innings with three hits allowed, one earned run, and three walks to go along with five strikeouts. Fernando Martinez went 0 for 4 in the game and Mike Carp went 0 for 3.

  • John Maine seems to have issues staying focused.

    "I couldn't get going, it took me a while," Maine said. "I felt better in the fourth and fifth inning."

    Maine allowed two runs on five hits, including a Pat Burrell home run, in 6 1/3 innings, his second-longest outing in 11 starts this season. He was taken out in the seventh after allowing a Chris Coste double and then walking Abraham Nunez.

    Manager Willie Randolph isn't concerned so much about the length of Maine's outings as about his approach to each at-bat. At times he needs reminders to stay focused.

    "Sometimes it seems like he takes his foot off the accelerator a little bit, and he needs to just keep firing at them, keep going," Randolph said. "Because when he does that, things work out better for him."

    Despite his lapses in staying focused, he has went 4-0 in his last seven starts and the Mets are 7-0 in his last seven starts. If you cannot ignore how Steve Trachsel just manages to win, how can you ignore that?

  • Fucking swell...

    They capped off the third-best homestand in team history by knocking off the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3 at Shea Stadium yesterday, finishing their nine-game homestand with an 8-1 record. Only the 1969 Amazin' Mets and the 1988 squad fared better, each posting 9-1 marks.

    I don't want to sound to Yankee-fanish, but anything less than a World Series trip will be very disappointing.

  • Any hopes and dreams for Roy Oswalt in a Mets uniform could be flushed down the toilet.

    The sides also met on Aug. 9, when parameters of a contract were exchanged.

    Since then, the parties have agreed to settle on a deal before the end of August or table the negotiations until after the season.

    Oswalt will celebrate his 29th birthday Tuesday, and it would not be a surprise if his good friend McLane marked the occasion by locking him up to a long-term contract.

    Oswalt wants to stay in Texas at the expense of him actually having a shot at winning a World Series, but at least he'll be rich for lifetimes to come.

  • The Red Sox are D-O-N-E, done.

    Slightly more than a week after being admitted to Mass. General Hospital with an irregular heartbeat, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz suffered a recurrence of the problem last night and will return to Boston today for additional testing.

    Ortiz was scratched from the starting lineup just prior to the Sox’ 9-0 loss to the Oakland A’s because, according to a club spokesman, he was not feeling well. Until manager Terry Francona revealed the nature of Ortiz’ problem after the game, the assumption was that the player was suffering from a bug that has affected a handful of players on the team.

    It was already on life support, but any games Ortiz misses is a nail in their coffin.
  • Monday, August 28, 2006

    Ollie Time?

    I finally got my wish, which was the same wish as many others, and got to see Oliver Perez pitch as a Met. The result? Just about everyone got what they expected. An erratic pitcher who showed flashes of absolutely dominating batters. You do not have to be a scout to see that his mechanics are horrendous at times. As Ron Darling pointed out during the broadcast, the higher the leg kick, the harder it is to repeat. In pitching, repetition is key and a consistent release point it key. Those are two things that seem to elude Oliver Perez.

    Let's go over what we saw from Oliver Perez through a stretch of batters.
    • In the first inning with two outs, Perez worked a full count to Pat Burrel and struck him out. Burrel looked at three nice sliders in the inside corner.
    • To start the second inning, Oliver then faced Jose Hernandez and struck him out in five pitches. Hernandez took three straight sliders. Looked at the first one, harmlessly waved at one and fouled it off and looked at the same pitch the third time as it hit LoDuca's mitt.
    • Perez then got Chris Coste to fly out to center on an 0-2 count.
    • Abraham Nunez then came up and Perez struck him out looking on an inside fastball on a 2-2 count.
    • To start off the third inning, Perez then fell behind 2-0 to John Leiber before coming back with two straight fastballs. Perez then fell behind in the count to 3-2 and finally finished him off with another fastball. At this point, he struck out four of the last five batters.
    • Jimmy Rollins then stepped up to the plate. He looked at two high 70's mph sliders to get him into an 0-2 hole and finally took a silly swing on a gorgeous slider that almost hit him on the shin on a 1-2 count. Perez had now struck out his last six of seven batters at this point.
    • Perez then got Shane Victorino to pop up to right field for his eighth out in a row overall.
    • In the fourth inning, Utley grounded out weekly to first on a 1-1 on a fastball after taking a fastball low and taking a really nice slider that started on the inside of the plate and came back to the middle.
    • Ryan Howard then stepped up to the plate. He first took a breaking ball that he buckled a bit on and then took a 94 mph fastball on the outside part of the plate before popping out weakly to David Wright on an off speed pitch that he dropped his arm angle on. Howard got owned and was the tenth out in row.
    • Pat Burrel then came to the plate an took a slider for strike one. He took a 94 mph fastball that was close to painting the black for ball, swung through 93 mph fastball that Perez moved in a tick back over the plate, took a fastball in close to the same spot as the previous pitch but a ball, took a back door breaking ball for a ball, and took ball four on an inside slider and was the fist baserunner since the 1st.
    • Jose Hernandez then took a back door breaking ball that started off the plate and swept over to the inside corner. Perez then threw another high 70's slider, but this time got it an inch or two inside off the plate and Hernandez swung right through it. Oliver then threw two inside fastballs in the low 90's with the second one making Jose jump back. After burying to fastballs inside, he threw a backdoor slider similar to the one he started off Jose with and Hernandez just looked at it for strike three. At this point, Perez had 35 strikes to 30 balls and struck out six in the first four innings of play.
    The rest was all downhill from there as he imploded. He started off with a bad call from Randy Marsh with Chris Coste on a 2-2 count that should have been strike three. He then walked Coste and that was followed by a play a field by Valentin that really should have been a double play, but only resulted in one out. He then walked Lieber and eventually hit Utley and gave up five runs in the fifth when all is said and done. Walking a pitcher is inexcusable and this inning still counts toward his overall performance and cannot be ignored. Oliver Perez had a bad start that was very reminiscent of Victor Zambrano's starts. A lot of pitches, a lot of walks, some signs of dominating, and inning of complete and utter implosion.

    "I am pumped up about this guy," Minaya said. "He made good hitters look bad."

    Though his start was a bit more Victor Zambrano than we would all like, it is tough not to draw a lot of positives from that start. He did not miss by much on a lot of those pitches and his stuff is clearly there. Similarly to Scott Kazmir and Randy Johnson, Oliver throws with a 3/4 arm slot that gives him a sweeping effect on his slider and his fastball. His pitches are always boring into the right side of the plate and he has the ability to nick the inside corner on righties and the outside corner on lefties making him unhittable when he is on with a devastating out pitch that is especially deadly to lefties. Perez also is very comfortable working on the inside corner to righties and loves to use his backdoor breaking ball.

    You can say whatever you want and Rick Peterson's inability to help fix a damaged Victor Zambrano, but Peterson's specialty is mechanics. Perez still has a live arm. He can throw two different sliders in one that loops a bit more and looks like a slurve and a hard biting slider and spots them all over. Perez still is armed with a mid 90's fastball and I'm sure Peterson is salivating at the idea of getting his hands on him on the off season. When Perez did miss badly, it was when his mechanics fell apart and he looked horrible. Perez dominated the league in 2004 and completely dominated the Phillies for a stretch in his start on Saturday. He still has it in him and while it is clear that Perez will not help this season, a lot of our thoughts that the trade for Oliver Perez might turn into a steal for the Mets were only reinforced with his frustrating performance.

    * * *

  • On Saturday, Mike Pelfrey returned to the mound and went three innings and gave up one hit, no runs, and three walks while striking out three in Norfolk's 3-0 win over Richmond.

    On Sunday, Alay Soler got jacked up in Norfolk's 9-0 loss to the Richmond Braves. Soler went five innings, gave up seven hits, five earned runs, and two walks while striking out seven.

    On Saturday, Carlos Gomez went 2 for 3 with three runs scored, his 36th and 37th stolen bases of the year, one walk, one double, and one RBI in Binghamton's win over Eerie. What has been most impressive about this season for Gomez is his improvement on the basepaths. Gomez has only gotten caught nine times so far in 112 games after getting nabbed 24 times in 120 games on 2005.

    St. Lucie lost 2-1 on Saturday to Daytona, but Fernando Martinez had a solid game with a 2 for 3 game in which he hit his fourth homerun of the year and walked twice.

  • Alfonso Soriano is closing in on the 40-40 club and a ridiculously big payday in the off season.

    If Soriano steals six more bases, he'll become only the fourth player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in one season, joining Jose Canseco (1988), Barry Bonds (1996) and Alex Rodriguez (1998). And if he makes a real push down the stretch, he might actually become the charter member of the 50-50 club.
    "If I got off to a better start, maybe, but now it's too tough," he said. "There's one month left, and I know I cannot get 16 stolen bases in one month. If I get it, I'm going to be surprised."

  • The Yankees were planning on having Carl Pavano return to the Yankee rotation this week, but he has other plans.

    After finishing the game - in which he allowed two runs in six innings - Pavano seemed okay, sources said. About 20 minutes after Columbus manager Dave Miley informed Pavano of the Yankees' plans, however, he mentioned that he had been feeling some pain in the lower chest and oblique area on his right side, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Now, it's unclear - again - when he'll be able to pitch.

    "He's scared stiff," one Yankee official said.

    Let us all point and laugh.

  • San Pedro is heading down to St. Lucie to begin his rehab and should only be there a week according to him. El Duque might be given some more time off so the Mets could get another look at Oliver Perez and Tom Glavine is still due to start on Friday in Houston.

  • From Newday.com:

    Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado homered in Saturday's 11-5 win, the franchise-record 10th time this season the teammates have gone deep in the same game. The mark of nine games was shared by three duos: Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry (1987), Robin Ventura and Mike Piazza (1999) and Ventura and Edgardo Alfonzo (1999).

  • Steve Somers is just a gem. This weekend, he first took some digs at Derrik Jeter. This is not verbatim, but he said something like this:

    "...and Derek Jeter scored one more run yesterday to increase his lead in intangibles to 1,423. He would definitely get my vote for MVI (Most Valuable Intangible) this season."

    Then some guy called up and said Jeter is the MVP or should be in the running for the MVP and Steve reminded him that Jeter already had his vote for MVI.

    Then, he went after A-Rod. He played a clip of a game in which Rodriguez had already struck out three times and just needed to get the ball out of the infield to tie the game. A-Rod struck out and John Sterling with his crew were just dumfounded. You could hear the disappointment and disbelief in their voices. They sounded like someone just ran over their dog. I wish the clip was somewhere on the internet as it was pure gold.

    At this point, A-Rod is the source of endless entertainment for people who enjoy laughing at his misfortune. He is whining, making excuses, and not getting any support from his teammates publicly. He should take note of how David Wright is handling his struggles.

    "There's no excuses, I'm just not hitting well right now," he said. "It's as simple as that."

    Unlike the other third baseman in town, Wright has not fallen into revelatory bouts of public self-pity, or mentioned vague injuries even his manager was unaware of, or feigned not caring when it was obvious that the whole thing was tearing him up. He has not ripped his shirt off in Central Park or jumped between a kid and a speeding truck. And his fielding, steady but never spectacular, is as steady and unspectacular as ever.

    What is also rather comical is how their respective team's fan base treats the situation. The Yankee fans are relentless in their disdain for A-Rod while the Met fans are like a supportive girlfriend (yes, I know that is an oxymoron).

    "When I open the letters of mail every day, there's people trying to give me motivational speeches, and there's people trying to let me know what I'm doing wrong. And that kind of support is what makes it great," Wright said after yesterday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies was rained out.

    "I mean, they haven't been negative at all," Wright said. "It's almost like they have been the opposite. They are trying harder to get me more comfortable and make me feel right at home."

  • Cliffy could be right around the corner.

    Cliff Floyd is scheduled to play in a rehab game today in Port St. Lucie, Fla. There's still no timetable for his return, but he will probably play in at least three or four games before he rejoins the team. Floyd could be back as early as this weekend in Houston.

  • Paulie ballgame, I apologize to you for calling you BloDuca. I was wrong and I admit that. I just hope we can all move on from this and put it behind us.

    John Maine learned quickly. It's generally foolish to ignore Paul Lo Duca.

    "My first game," Maine said, "he wanted a curveball and I wanted a fastball. It turned into a base hit."

    That was back in May, at home against Washington. Maine can't remember the pertinent details, like who got the hit, or what Lo Duca said to him when they huddled in the dugout and discussed where Maine had gone wrong. The other Mets pitchers could have told the rookie a given truth: Hardly anyone shakes off Lo Duca.

  • Joel Sherman hit the nail on the head on just why this Shawn Green trade was so good for this team. I agree with all of it and this really was a great move by Omar.

  • Since I apologized to Paulie Ballgame, I might as well apologize to Endy Chavez. I'm sorry for calling you a waste of at-bats and saying that Tike Redman was better. Though I'm not sure anyone could have predicted how well you are playing, you have been a stud this year for the Mets.

    Chavez was at it again last night, going 4-for-4 with a two-run double in the Mets' 11-5 rout of the Phillies at Shea. It was his second four-hit game of the season and he's now hitting .435 on this home stand.

    The team's fourth outfielder - a starter now in place of the injured Cliff Floyd - is batting .307 with 39 runs scored and 33RBI in 264 at-bats on the season.

    "I told him (in spring training) to be ready to play all three outfield positions, and I told him I'd use him a lot," Willie Randolph said. "I'm proud of him as much as anybody on this team.

    "I give him a lot of credit for making the adjustments he's had to make and I also think he's one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. He's a tough out, he gives us a lot of energy and he's one of the better backup outfielders in the game."