First Loss of the Season Goes To....Ollie Perez

I don't know how you summarise the surreality of an Ollie Perez start better than this simple little article:

"All my pitches were working," Perez said. "They were taking chances."

That was the extent of Perez's explanation for what went wrong. When asked if he knew what Perez meant by that, catcher Ramon Castro said, "No."

Pitching coach Dan Warthen? "I don't understand," Warthen said.

Think YOU'RE sick and tired of sucking, Ollie?

Oh I think we all understand. We've seen this enough.

It was the Reds, early in the season.

Where's the incentive to stay focused? Oh sure, he can slap it together for a pair of innings, excitement of his first official start of 2009 and all but look, there isn't any pressure, it's in Cincinnati, it's a weekday afternoon, there's about 12 people in the stands, who is going to care?

Not Ollie, that's who.

Maybe Ollie and Reyes can form their own, The Lack of Concentration and Focus Team.

Ollie was repugnant after those good first two innings, putting men on, letting them score, in essence, vintage Ollie. 4 1/3 innings 5 hits, 5 walks, 8 runs, all earned. The only thing missing was a few wild pitches.

Reyes struck out "looking" to start the game off, got himself thrown out trying to steal in the 3rd and then struck out in a miserable at bat in the 4th, swinging lacsidaisically at an ugly pitch high and outside and struck out "looking" again in the 9th. Sure, he had two singles but really, Reyes' head didn't appear to be in the game.

And what can we say about Darren O'Day's debut? Comes in, hits the first batter, comes within a hair's breadth of walking in a run and then surrenders a two-run single. Brill, baby. Way to cement your spot on the team. Now maybe that's down to the news that his former teammate Nick Adenhart had been killed the night before, I don't know, no one dared touch on it, the built-in excuse of it. Maybe Jerry should have before he stuck him in there. Or maybe that's just the way O'Day is going to pitch. Far too early to tell.

What we CAN tell is something we knew from the beginning. Ollie is an enigma wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a rubbish and now greatly overpaid pitcher.

This isn't the time to foam at the mouth because yes, everyone and their brother is saying I told you so about Ollie and wringing their hands about the money spent on him and cursing Omar for being an Idiot and not forking out the extra scratch to sign Derek Lowe.

And on days like today, you do bemoan the penny ante attitude of the Mets front office, this faux sagacity geared towards throwing low cost, low risk losers into the mix, free agent nobodies and reclamation projects in the hopes that some of them stick.

Has anyone spent as many seasons being "promising" as Ollie?

Just look back at this tidbit from when Omar first traded for him, a neat and timeless summary that hasn't changed in three or four years.

Perez reported to spring training last season with the Pirates in poor shape and never did get straightened out. He went 7-5 with a 5.85 ERA and 97 strikeouts.

The left-hander was 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA in 15 starts for Pittsburgh this season before being optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on June 29. In six minor-league starts, he was 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA.

Each of the Pirates' last two pitching coaches, Spin Williams (2005) and Jim Colbert (2006), has had trouble getting Perez to develop a consistent delivery.

He releases pitches from all angles and arm slots, and that leads to big variations in his velocity. He was regularly in the 97 mph range in 2004 but now often drops into the high 80s.

"He has some upside," Minaya said. "We think Perez has some potential to be turned around."

Maybe. At least he's got a long, fat contract to turn it around in.


katherine said...

Ever since last year I've had a photo from your blog as my desktop wall paper- the one of Jose looking straight at the camera like a madman? But I replaced it just now with the Ollie/Jerry photo. That's priceless. Hope it doesn't represent the whole season. It just CAN'T. Ollie will pull it together.

Jaap said...

hopefully katherine, it will be replaced by a "METS WIN THE WORLD SERIES" photo by the end of the year...

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