Tim Redding goes tonight for the Mets at Los Angeles. I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled. Redding just personifies the Mets’ lingering rotation problems. It is not a deep rotation, with Johan Santana the only starter providing consistent innings.
There’s promise with Mike Pelfrey and John Maine, but there can be no assumptions with either. Livan Hernandez is good for five only, which taxes the bullpen. Oliver Perez? Well, so far he hasn’t been good for anything, and there’s no promise he’ll ever snap out of it.
The Mets won three of their first four games on this trip, but there remain flaws with this team. The pitching match-ups in the Dodgers series favors Los Angeles, and from there the team heads to Boston for three. This isn’t a critical stretch, but it is very important as they go head-to-head with playoff caliber teams. The Mets will be tested over the next six games and their flaws will be revealed.
No, not for a minute do I believe the Mets’ winning streak is tied to GM Omar Minaya’s comments about some of his players lacking a certain “edge” to them.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last game the Mets lost was one started by Oliver Perez that Saturday afternoon in Philly. The Mets came back to make a game of it before losing on a bases loaded walk from Sean Green.
From then on, they’ve played the way they said all along they were capable of.
The Mets are 12-3 when they get a quality start, which by definition – three runs in six innings – is kind of mediocre when you stop to think about it. Mets starters are 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA in their last seven starts.
When a team pitches well, and that should continue tonight with Johan Santana, then everything else falls into place. There’s less pressure on the offense and less strain on the bullpen. Games are crisper, smoother and played with a certain – what’s the word I’m searching for? – edge if you will.
The Mets are playing aggressive, alert baseball, and there are no worries about heart or calls for leadership.
Once the pitching goes in the tank again, and there will be a stretch when things don’t click again, we’ll hear about “edge” and grit and leadership.
There’s always news of some kind when the Mets are in Atlanta. Last year, for example, marked the beginning of the end for Willie Randolph and was also the site of Ryan Church’s concussion.
Word is Oliver Perez will be demoted to the bullpen, with the team eschewing the minor league and DL options.
Oh yes, Carlos Delgado returns tonight.
Reports have Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon in Atlanta to meet with Jerry Manuel and Oliver Perez to best figure out how to handle the disintegrating lefty.
1) Convince him to accept a minor league assignment. As a veteran of at least five years he has the right of veto. The pros of going to the minor leagues is it could demoralize the already shaky Perez emotionally beyond repair. Nobody has a way of knowing for sure. Theoretically, he’ll get consistent work in, albeit away from pitching coach Dan Warthen.
2) Keep him around where he could work with Warthen and pitch out of the bullpen in a to-be-determined role. The disadvantage is not getting consistent work against live hitters.
3) Put him on the DL with a knee (injury). All of a sudden Perez was wrapped in ice after Saturday’s start and said it had been hurting him all year. This is the path of least resistance because the Mets can bring somebody up and Perez can still be around the team to work out.
We’ll know tonight.
OLIVER PEREZ: The minors could help.
After all but agreeing to take a minor league assignment following Saturday’s loss, Oliver Perez’s right knee was conveniently wrapped in ice yesterday afternoon. He said it has been bothering him all year, which begs the question: Why didn’t the Mets say something earlier?
Perez might take a face-saving trip to the DL or might be used in relief sometime this week. As of now, he won’t make Friday’s start against Pittsburgh at Citi Field.
Perez can veto any demotion to the minor leagues because of his service time, which would make him incredibly selfish. If he does it would be interesting to see how many “leaders” in the Mets’ clubhouse would tell him that’s the thing for him to do.
I’d say none. Not even Johan Santana would suggest to him the minors is the way to go to fix his mechanics and attitude. The players will say it is beyond their responsibilities to tell a teammate to go to the minor leagues even if staying is the best interest of the team.
There’s something incredibly wrong with Perez that has nothing to do with his knee. And, the Mets can’t waste any more major league innings trying to figure it out.