Archives for posts with tag: Oliver Perez

Busy day at the races; I shall have to be typically verbose when I get my sorry butt back home tonight (which will be through bitter rainstorms and the compulsory Friday night trip to see my parents).

An additional treat will be photos and words regarding the Frank Messina reading at Foley’s NY, of which I spoke yesterday.  Good time, good fun.  Later.

For now, something to hold you over.

Here’s the thing I came away with during last night’s game against the Atlanta Braves (L, 5-3).  We spoke about it, the event attendees and I, as it happened.

Top of the seventh.  Score tied, and remarkably so given that all three of the Mets’ patchwork outfield got steady work from Oliver Perez. (His walk count lowered from seven nine days ago to four last night.  Follow that?)  Righty Manny Acosta relieves Derek Lowe for the Braves. (Derek got jobbed by his infield and an odd strike zone last night.  Rare that this is the case, but the high-and-tight zone seemed to benefit Ollie.  But I was watching from a ways away, and drinking; I wonder what excuse I’d make were I a real reporter.)

Brian Schneider grounds out.  He was hitless last night, with a couple walks (one intentional).

One now must pinch-hit for Oliver Perez, who’d just gone over the magic number of pitches for anyone, and who wriggled out of a jam to end the sixth.  Who do you go to?

The Mets’ bench last night, excluding any Livan Hernandez pinch-hitting shenanigans, included:

  • Jeremy Reed (lefty batting .292 going into last night);
  • Angel Berroa (righty batting .136 going into last night);
  • Omir Santos (righty batting .268 going into last night); and
  • Fernando Tatis (righty batting .247 going into last night, and who once hit two grand slams in an inning).

There are thirteen pitchers currently on the Mets active roster.  With good reason.

Tatis popped out to second and we were all grateful that he could only possibly ground into a double play.

So everywhere we could look to find fault, we could not.  Without a viable fourth starter, and a fifth starter by committee, the Mets need to carry an extra arm or two.  Given the tie score late, one must save their strongest offensive weapons in case of emergency. 

The thought must’ve been: “Tatis gets on base.  Pagan’s been swinging well and Castillo’s got a hitting streak going.  We could eke out a run then slam the brakes on Atlanta.”

Except Tatis popped out, leaving no margin for error by Castillo, who was the weakest part of that equation.

The bench is less than exciting these days.  As for the relief corps, Feliciano walked the first guy he faced in the lower half of the frame and, well, if you were watching or not, you can figure out the rest.

It was a perfectly okay and understandable substitution, but if someone were to ask me next year or the year after or the year after how bad the injuries that befell the 2009 Mets hurt the team, this will be my anecdote.  It was a tidy little baseball game that ended badly.

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I got called out, recently, for wearing my black Mets jersey.

“They’re no expansion team!  Where’s your pride?”

Must’ve left it in my other pocket.

I do own a black Mets jersey–the home alternate, which reads “Mets” on the front–and I wear it sometimes.  Always to ball games, with the black cap that I’ve whirled around so often in celebration of a run scored for the home team that it’s starting to buckle.  And underneath the jersey, my “I’m Calling It Shea” T-shirt which I ordered in late April yet arrived late May, taking the slow boat to Bay Ridge.  (I kid; there was a run on production.  It was well worth the wait.)

More on the jersey: it has the Shea patch on it; there’s no name or number on the back.  When The Wife got it for me as a Christmas gift, I was still unsure of what player to pick. 

I’ve seen people wear black with “Seaver” on the back.  Incorrect.  Incorrect, too, is the one black “Ryan” jersey I’ve seen, with the number 30.  I can’t believe one’s allowed to order such things.  Perhaps their wearer’s names were, respectively, Seaver and Ryan, but somehow I doubt it.

I’d considered a “Shea” with the number 08 on it, but while I must’ve gone to a couple dozen games at Shea (there were some very lean years in the Vargas household), I never felt like I owned the place: my best memory was a game I caught in the Mezzanine, sometime during my senior year of high school, and fearing the upper deck would collapse on me when chants began for Benny Agbayani. 

“AG-BA-YA-NI!” ::clap, clap, clap clap clap:: “AG-BA-YA-NI!” ::stomp, stomp, stomp stomp stomp:: 

I think he got a hit.  I don’t think the fear would be so terribly ingrained if cheers and foot-stomping hadn’t come, and that because of a hit with some impact on the game.  I’m somewhat ashamed for my fear, I admit.  Nothing to be done now; place be gone, yo.

I strongly considered getting “Franco,” 45, with perhaps the “C.”  These, I was told, were unavailable.  Perhaps for the best.

So the back remains blank.  I wear a black Mets home alt jersey from the last season at Shea Stadium.  This does not bother me.  The Wife, an alert and astute woman as ever there was, figured I wanted a jersey for going to ball games, where ketchup from hot dogs and grease from sausage-and-pepper sandwiches are attracted to me like bees to ball girls.  Rightfully, she thought black would better hide the stains of beer and pity and triumph and whatever coats the seats of the Coney Island-bound N train at night, as it leaves Queensboro Plaza.  NB: I’m told “it’s sweat and nothing else.”  Okay, buddy.

I have little excuse for the cap except to say that black goes with most things, until it’s faded.  Then it goes with almost nothing, but you’re committed.  But that’s my retort to the guy walking past me on Shore Road: my wife got it for me.  I eat like a five year-old.  You’re not wearing it.  Go about your business.

However, the Mets are a currently team full of rookies and super-rookies, and tired veterans past their prime, with a couple of superstar names doing the best they can.  They’re playing under-.500 ball in a brand-new ball park sagging under the weight of garish advertisements, and dripping with the sarcasm of fans who denote an appalling lack of history represented within its confines.  The park, in fact, is named after a bank.  I posit that this is about as close to an expansion team as I hope the Mets ever get.  Besides, to be truly authentic I’d have to wear a wool pinstriped Mets jersey.  I’m not wearing a wool pinstriped Mets jersey.

That’s enough about the jersey.

The Mets start their 10-game post-All Star Break road trip tonight in Atlanta.  Oliver Perez will face off against Derek Lowe, in my absolute worst nightmare. 

Derek Lowe is 8-7 over 19 games started and almost 113 innings pitched.  He’s walked a bit more than half the players he’s struck out (37 BB to 61 Ks), and he’s earning $15 million this year.

Oliver Perez is 2-2 over 6 games started and almost 27 innings pitched.  He’s walked 28.  Struck out 22.  He’s earning $12 million this year.

But he’s a lefty.

…I considered writing a paragraph here about extrapolating Perez’s stats to be comparable to Lowe’s in number of games pitched.  But that would be roundly unscientific; as stats-lite as this site is, I decline to presume borderline-sub-mediocrity as strongly as I decline to presume success.  I can’t predict the lights-out performance from Perez and fold that in there; neither can I swear that we’ll see the same thing start in and start out (though history’s on my side, there).  Do what I was going to do if you want: multiply each number in Ollie’s line by three.  See where it gets you.

As it stands, what stands out are the walks.  Follow the back-of-the-envelope logic here that walks are committed when a pitcher cannot get the ball to the catcher through the strike zone for a looking-or-swinging strike or a foul ball.  The fault for that pitch can either be with the pitcher, the catcher, the batter (especially if he’s Eddie Gaedel, I guess), or the umpire, who couldn’t tell a damned strike if he caught it in bed with his dog.  Where was that one, Blue?

Where was that one, indeed.

Eliminating the catcher from fault, and the batter, who’s a variable anyway, and the ump, who has every idea what a strike is and what a ball is (and leave my dog out of it, thank you very much) we’re left with the pitcher. 

Why is the pitcher at fault?  Does something hurt?  Does he not have the skill with which a professional can usually determine what pitch is appropriate to throw?  Something wrong at home?  What?  Tell us what it is, and we’ll do our best to fix it, by God.  We’re paying you all this money.  Imagine how much more we have invested in the rest of these mugs.

“My knee, Coach.  It’s my knee.  It hurts somewhere in the back, there.  That’s why I can’t make my pitches.”

Fine.  DL it is.  Perez walked seven of those 28 after missing about two months, for rehab.

$36 million over three years (Perez) is a long way from $60 million over four years (Lowe), but two months for seven walks and a victory is a long way, too, from two months and six victories, which is about the number Lowe collected in that span, along with a decent number of innings, saving your perhaps expensive, perhaps rebuilt bullpen. 

There’s a fiduciary myopia, there.

I will no doubt expound on this more tonight, following whatever happens in Atlanta.  I know it will be pouring in New York, both outside and inside Foley’s NY by the Empire State Building.  Frank Messina will be reading some Mets poetry.  As a student of letters, this I gotta see.

(Written at 7 AM, posted at 3 PM.  Brilliant.)

It’s early and, truth be told, I’m still a bit hungover.  This will be somewhat disjointed.  But there will be pictures.  Everyone likes pictures.

First, let’s get the wiseacre business out of the way.

This is what a Met with an extra-base hit looks like:

second base.jpgThat’s Daniel Murphy there, of the Jacksonville Murphys.

This is what the scoreboard looks like when the Mets notch a run:

scoreboard.jpgThat’s all for sarcasm at present. 

Section Five Twenty-Eight was fortunate enough to have the presence of the guy I’m calling “Big Man” in the house with us (the mascot I mention in my rambling, devoid-of-line-breaks bio).  We were all concerned, and muttering hopes for his well-being.  And then, like a shining beacon… my eyes crossed just now; I did indeed type “beacon” and not “bacon,” right?… he appeared:

big man.jpg…in all his Beltran finery. 

And along his back-up band of relatives, thus excusing his early departure. He had a kid with him who wanted to hit some balls off a tee over in Kiddie Field, so there you go.  Four beers chugged. Two bought from groups in other sections, as though the gaggle up in Promenade Left are collective macrocosms of players in that Goodfellas scene at the Copa.  I like it.

The man’s a celebrity, and as with all celebrities, we’ve gotten a little too involved with his health.  He’s got a long way to drive, and it was a Wednesday, and the man appears to have lived a fun life already.  So we began to chant, “Sip!  Sip!  Sip!” when another beer materialized in his hand.

Baseball, in the in between moments–and there were many, as Oliver Perez decided to pitch in a gear normally reserved for sloths, slugs, and the infirm–can be quite entertaining in the stands.  Others have already picked up the mantle for Big Man.  In the manner of Spartacus, we had other revelers shouting “Section Five Twenty-Eight!” and doing damage to their own livers for a change. 

I tell ya, it’s great for branding.  I should have some business cards made up and leave them with the poor lambs still trying to sell season tickets.  Or at the sausage stand.

By the way, Sean Avery was on the Kiss Cam.  He did not kiss the woman seated next to him, and I think it’s because they just happened to be seated together, and not actually together-together.  Donald Trump was ALSO on the Kiss Cam.  He nodded, waved, then planted a deep one on what someone in the men’s room later described as “a fine piece of filet gumbo,” which is perhaps my FAVORITE superlative to bestow on a member of the fairer sex.  A kudo to you, sir.

The question of songs one would have play as one entered the batter’s box came up; this is similar to the old joy of picking the song to be played as one enters relief, but has the benefit of multiple choice: first time in; second time in; clutch situation.

The oddest suggestion was “What’s Going On?” by 4 Non Blondes.  It’s frightening that three fairly grown men did not need the help of the three women across the aisle from us to belt a verse and the chorus:

“And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out, what’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs,
‘What’s goin’ on?’

And I say hey… hey…
I said HEY! What’s goin’ on?
And I say hey… hey…
I said HEY! What’s goin’ on?”

Songs are universal.  Especially gems such as those.

And then Daniel Murphy made perhaps the best play I’ve ever seen in the infield, in person or on television.

**

It’s not The Catch.  It’s not Johan fielding the ball off the barrel of the broken bat.  But if ESPN runs a piece calling out the worst Mets plays of the season, in EARLY JULY, then calls Murphy’s behind the back toss to Bobby Parnell the “Web Gem Of The Year,” either their calibration and their motives are off, or the Mets do indeed have the concurrent capacity for dreckitude and amazibility.

I’ve watched it about twenty times.  The ball settles in Parnell’s glove.  As L.A. Dodgers first baseman Mark Loretta’s foot plants onto the bag, Parnell’s glove closes around the ball.  He maintains possession.  There’s your out, Mr. Loretta.  Thanks for playing.  You had a hit and knocked in the first run with it, and that’s more than your opponents last night had been able to say in a while.  So no talk of luck or lack of luck, please.

What thrilled us was it appeared, rightly, that Murphy would have to be like unto The Flash to grab the ball so far away from the bag, then get into position to fire to Parnell.  No one thought it was going to be a behind-the-back toss like that.  We were instantly on our feet, all of us, all around us.  Unbelievable.

**

I was in attendance for Manny Ramirez’s passing of Jimmie Foxx on the home run list.  Good for him.

**

ground rules.jpgCiti Field’s ground rules include the following admonition (paraphrased): “Please refrain from using foul or inappropriate language.”  I took that picture after I took this picture:

oliver perez.jpg…which is of Oliver Perez heading for the bullpen to warm-up.  You can tell by the high socks.  Faux-hawk is, thankfully, obscured by the ball cap.

There were children present all around me and my group yesterday, which made watching Ollie and getting frustrated by Ollie after his fourth pitch and Ollie’s fist pumps after getting out of hells of his own making very difficult.

I am so thankful to be done with an Ollie start and escape unscathed.  I have no evidence to refute my various claims regarding the man, and as I of course did not wish harm on the Mets, I’m still safe from the blade of hindsight.  Nevertheless, my personal calculus for last night runs thusly:

Seven walks, including walking the bases full in the third, after getting the first two outs (negative)

+

Holding Manny Ramirez hitless each of the three times he saw you (positive)

=

Zero.

So he did not do any further damage to himself, in my eyes.  I can now think about other things for the next few days.  Delightful.

Good job, guys.  Catch you this evening.

Seems when the Mets get to stay in the East rather than having to go west, the result is the same.  They played the L.A. Dodgers last night (L; 8-0) but they might not have.  The team managed four-hits.

Putting on my Andy Rooney hat and eyebrows again: when is it slightly illegitimate to use the “[number]-hitter” construction?  I say three hits is the max.  If the number of hits total could have sent a runner home if made consecutively, then there’s no reason to project the pitching as lights-out.  Just very, very, very good.  Very good.

Andy hat/brows off.

The last time the Mets scored a run… well, it was a while ago.  An extra base hit?  A while ago, too.  No ground was lost on first as the Cincinnati Reds showed Brad Lidge of the Phillies he’s still not yet unhittable, but that just speaks to the Phillies’ growing pains as masters of first place on the short bus that is the NL East.  You can beat a team by 21 runs one night but lose by one the next?  Yes, Phillies fans, them’s the breaks.  You’ll wish you had that game come late September.

Ah, schadenfraude, kissing cousin to homerism.

Looking forward.  That’s the best fans can do as the season unfolds.  I see Oliver Perez in my future.  For reference, I’ve put his over/under on innings pitched at 3.2 and took the under for $5.  We’ll see if he wants to make a loser out of me and go 4 full.  In addition, Adam Rubin of the Daily News tells us that Argenis Reyes was demoted to clear a spot for Perez on the roster.  Can’t believe it yourself?  Read it here.

That, my friends, is known as addition by subtraction.  Ask Guillermo Mota about it.  He blazed through the bottom of the ninth and the top of the order last night, so he’s got some time.

Yes, yes.  Citi Field and Oliver Perez, no Argenis Reyes, and Mama’s of Corona Italian subs.  I appear to be hale and hearty–no sign of rickets or shingles–so I guess I will be going.  But today is a new day, and it’s time to look forward.  I’m not in the clubhouse.  I’m not in the training room.  I’m not in the front office.  I’m not on the field.  So I go and cheer, ’cause that’s the best any of us on this side of the coin can do.

Let’s go Mets! 

…Ollie, I swear to Christ…

The Wife was up for the Fourth of July weekend.  We watched dribs and drabs of the Phillies series, in between trips out to the harbor by Shore Road, and to the movies (Public Enemies is a sound purchase to make with your cinema dollars; I had problems with it, but in all, a sound purchase), and to the barbecue grill.

It’s not the sweep which bothered me this weekend.  The Mets loked listless versus the Pirates on a make-up day; I’m not interested in writing another post about how these guys should suck it up and catch pop-ups, nor am I interested in writing another post on “leadership.”  They could’ve shown some offense but didn’t.  They could’ve been seven games out by now but aren’t. 

The Mets don’t see the Phillies again until August 21st.  Moving on.

The red caps bothered me, but not to the extent that I wished temporary and sudden illness on myself.  If this is to be A Thing, I wish the Mets luck next year in playing a team on Memorial or Independence Day that doesn’t regularly wear red.  Washington in May; Philadelphia in July.  And on this note: I saw no recognition of Flag Day.  Then again, there was enough figurative blood spilled at Yankee Stadium on Flag Day.  I’m sure if Johan could trade those nine earned runs for a novelty lid, he would.

(By the way, anyone notice the Jays had red caps, but with Canadian flags as the logo fill?  Way to celebrate Canda Day, fellas; I feel compelled to point out that it fell on Wednesday, but… meh.)

No, what bothered me, to the point that I’ve now come to dread this coming Wednesday, is the news that Oliver Perez will be making his first start off the disabled list that night.  I have a ticket to this game against the L.A. Dodgers.

No.  Please, no.

I’ve taken to licking subway seats.  I’ve threatened men thrice my size with death for walking within ninety feet of me.  I thought about dropping my bowling ball (an orange-and-blue thing I call Little Stevie) on my bare foot.  Then picking it up, and dropping it on my other bare foot.

Because I will go to the game.  I won’t NOT go to the game.  Because I have a ticket, and because I paid money, and because it’s the Mets, I will go to the game.  But knowing I’m going to watch Oliver Perez pitch is really making me reconsider the vaccinations I received as a child.

I am not being hyperbolic.  I am not.  I am not.  I am not.

Buy into whatever hype you must to watch an Oliver Perez start: he wins the big games.  When he’s on, he’s electric.  He’s a lefty and really more fun to watch than John Maine (that nugget comes from a “non-partisan baseball fan” friend, and to this day I don’t get, or care to get, the comparison).  I will not be drinking whatever Kool-Aid you want me to be smoking.  The train has sailed.  Semper crap: Lord save me from Oliver Perez.

Why so vitriolic?  Because I can hold a grudge.

Friday, September 28, 2007.  A friend (Oby) working as an operations manager for a plumbing company calls me and tells me he has three free tickets in Loge, six rows off the pace, behind home plate, for that night’s game against the Florida Marlins.  I took them all, because I’m a Mets fan and I don’t turn down tickets and I have friends who are Mets fans and less fortunate than I.  The call was made at 3 PM; by 5 PM, the other tickets were spoken for and we were all set.  My boss let me leave early, saying, “Go ahead; it’s all hands on deck out there tonight.  Good luck; let’s go Mets!”  He’s been a Yankees fan since the ’50s, but another example of a Yankees fan that doesn’t wish death and destruction on the team in the Senior Circuit.

I head out with Oby, my sister, and a colleague from work.  My colleague was born in Vancouver; this would be his first baseball game.  Shea could’ve levitated with the collective energy of the fans that night.

And then this happened.

I was an Ollie supporter when the game started.  I was an Ollie supporter after the first inning.  He rewarded my support with a 1-2-3 second inning.

Then the third inning.

A single to Byung-Hyun Kim (the pitcher).  A Hanley Ramirez double.  Hits Dan Uggla with a pitch to load the bases.  Gets the force-out on Jeremy Hermida; Kim is out at the plate.  One out, bases still loaded.  Miguel Cabrera strikes out.  Two out; bases still loaded.

He hits Cody Ross with a pitch.  A run scores.  He hits Mike Jacobs with a pitch.  A run scores.  Matt Treanor, by the grace of Hickox, is called out on strikes.  4-1, Marlins.

Oliver Perez jogs off the mound, and hops over the first base line to the dugout.

Carlos Beltran got the Mets back into fighting shape with a two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning.  Marlins 4, Mets 3.

Then the fourth inning.  Two out and no one on in the top of the fourth inning, to be precise.

Hanley Ramirez singles; Dan Uggla singles but the throw moves them to second and third.  He walks Jeremy Hermida.  Miguel Cabrera then hits an RBI single that plates two.  That ends Ollie’s night; he hops over the foul line on his way back to the dugout.

Six earned runs.  Three HBPs.  Two walks.  A home run.  Garbage.

I’ve since seen Oliver Perez pitch a 3-1 gem against the Yankees.  I’ve also seen him pitch horribly for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, and seen him get rocked by the Red Sox in the second exhibition game at Citi Field.  I’ve also read about his less-than-stellar performance against the CHARLOTTE STONE CRABS (caps intended).  But I was done with Oliver Perez on September 28, 2007. 

I screamed bloody murder when he won his arbitration case.  The remains of a shredded pillow–rended when he got his three-year deal–have long been carted away.  Yes, all for September 28, 2007, though he’s committed quite a few baseball-centric atrocities since.

That was a big game; he is not a big game pitcher.  There is no Good Ollie or Bad Ollie; there’s just Ollie, a broken clock that’s right twice a day but wrong the other 86,398 times.

I don’t hate Oliver Perez; I have a deep-seated, intense, burning dislike for Oliver Perez as a baseball player.

I used to work at a public school, and one of the many things I learned as an administrator is how to spot b.s. artists.  They have some talent and always a klatch of people pulling for him.  But when faced with difficulty, they’ll let the occasion slide away rather than rise to it.  Their core is consumed not with the desire to be excellent, but the desire to survive a situation they can’t believe they’ve found themselves in.  I struggle with this myself, honestly.

I’ve struck this pose, and this pose, and this pose.  (While I’ve also struck this pose, I’ve never done it wearing such a snazzy jacket.  Kudos, Johan.  Kudos.)

So don’t b.s. a b.s.er.  That man goes out onto the mound with the pitching minder’s equivalent of the Marine Corps Band whispering in his ear, a crowd of people who’ve seen him squander goodwill through lack of focus and conditioning, and a team that NEEDS him to be a competent mid-level starter.  And he wants out.  I can tell he wants out.  Every painfull
y incompetent dissembling post-game interview tells me he wants out.

When he wins, he doesn’t want out.  Of course not.  Winning feels good.

But there is a disconnect between the desire to win and the desire to generate the consistent ability to win.  And boy, do I wish I just happened to be projecting, and this was all in my head.  But no.  I know from b.s. artists.  I don’t like to pay money to see b.s. artists.

However, I have.  Therefore, I will.  I will not be doing what I usually do when I go to games.  I’m not writing the season off and I’m not hoping for a loss, but I’m going under fan protest.  Given the abject horror that was September 28, 2007, and the maddening inability to play to potential since, my conscience should allow me to skip this one. 

I wish the Mets employed priests and set them up in confessionals on the Queensboro Plaza 7 train platform.  “Bless me, Father, for I shall sin by walking downstairs and heading back home.  I simply can’t go to a game and drink enough beer to forget who’s on the mound.”

If someone can send this to Oliver Perez and point me in the direction of the man if he’s angry enough to take me out, please do so.  I really don’t want to go to this game, and will take a punch to avoid it.  But with my luck, the one time he’ll MEAN to hit someone, he’ll miss.

I watched the game last night against the St. Louis Cardinals (W, 6-4) in stages.  The first stage: Upper East Side of Manhattan, where I took notes in my head and quickly forgot them upon watching a plate of fried calamari get confiscated for… what?  Why take the plate away?  There was still food there; I was still eating it.  There was no signal.  I don’t care what you say.

Unbelievable.

The second stage, Brooklyn.  Pacific Standard on Fourth Avenue.  The MOST delicious microbrews.  I took full advantage.  And here now, are the full extent of the notes I took, unedited:

Different Stokes to move the world
Double paly on Pujols
How does castillo beat out that infield hit?
Guy Keith was demo-ing on was Schumaker
Dennys reyes can’t handle Fmart’s bunt
Yadier Molina has farty pants

I suppose he does have farty pants.  Let’s go down the line:

  • I feel like I watched Brian Stokes set up Albert Pujols in slow-motion.  It was satisfying turning to a fellow viewer, sitting to my left, and saying, “Double play.  Coming right now.”  And, sure enough.  Thanks for buying the pint, whoever the hell you are.
  • Hopefully I didn’t say actually say to her, “Double paly on Pujols.”  That would’ve been unfortunate.
  • I don’t know how Castillo beat out that throw for an infield hit.  I also don’t know how Omir Santos went 4 for 4, and I literally don’t know how Daniel Murphy hit that home run.  I was on the subway at that point, hustling to Brooklyn; as yet I’ve not watched the replay. (INSTANT UPDATE: he got a good turn on himself and powered through what appeared to be an unhealthy curve from Todd Wellemeyer.  Nice.)
  • I don’t quite know whether Keith was talking about Skip Schumaker, or Brendan Ryan, or Rick Ankiel, or what.  But I believe his pants were corduroy.  Anyone watching the game on SNY knows what I’m talking about.  The only thing more hilarious than seeing Keith Hernandez out of his chair in demo mode during a broadcast is how serious Ron Darling and Gary Cohen seemed to take it.  Ron was especially close to the danger zone.
  • I do know that Dennys Reyes didn’t look in any shape last night to handle a bunt, and sure enough he didn’t.  Can’t give Fernando Martinez a hit to help his average, but it helped the team, and that was enough.
  • I’ve already commented on Yadier Molina.

Think about the heartburn going into the bottom of the eighth, and think about how the bottom half of the line-up (though with these players, is there a bottom half of the line-up anymore?) manufactured a run:

Luis Castillo: infield single.

Fernando Martinez in for Stokes: bunt between Dennys Reyes and Yadier Molina.

Alex Cora: single up the middle on Dennys Reyes.  No extension on Reyes’s part to catch it because he can’t leave his feet; Cora safe; Luis Castillo scores.  Yadier Molina goes nanners.

The digital zoom on the camera catching the money end of the third base line had Castillo safe.  Molina catches it, Castillo geeks out, and grabs the plate as Molina tries to apply the tag.  It was close, but Castillo was in.

The run gives Frankie Rodriguez wiggle room against the middle of the Cardinals’ order.  Now, the middle of the Cardinals’ order isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but today’s Mets aren’t sure things when it comes to putting out fires.  There was nothing more poetic, by the way, than yesterday’s crash on the RFK Bridge involving trainer Ray Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and a fire truck.  On the day that Carlos Beltran goes on the DL. 

I love a metaphor as much as the next guy, but c’mon.

I guess until Tim Redding loses a game, I can keep calling him Teflon Tim.  Dear Tim Redding: don’t lose any games.  We need them.  Love, Paul.  P.S.: Don’t call me.  Your facial hair is frightening.

**

Oliver Perez pitched in Port St. Luice yesterday.  Against the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Here’s the recap.

I would review, but… no.  Just… no.

CHARLOTTE.  STONE.  CRABS. 

On occasion, Metsblog.com does something straight-up funny.  Earlier today, their notes on the Mets game versus Baltimore on Wednesday read thusly:

Date: Wed., June 17 
Time: 7:05 pm
Mets: Not John Maine
Orioles: Koji Uehara
Where: Camden Yards

Setting aside the fact that the Baltimore Orioles appear to be starting a guy who may bear some relation to the communications officer of the Enterprise (I know, I know: Uhura, Uehara; Swahili, Japanese), the idea of the pitcher being “Not John Maine” tickled me.

Not for nothing, but Not John Maine could be Johan Santana or Roy Halladay or Zach Greinke.  Not John Maine could also be Chien-Ming Wang circa 2009 or Victor Zambrano circa whenever with the Mets or that redheaded guy from My Boys, who got tagged hard by the Cubs in an episode at the end of this past season.

Hell, not John Maine could’ve been Kris Benson, except, you know. 

(By the way, Kris Benson’s now a long reliever for the Texas Rangers [had to look that up].  By the way, Google image results for the search term “Kris Benson” brings up one image with Kris in the background and a whole heapin’ load of Anna Benson images.  By the way, I’m not complaining about that.)

Point is, by this evening it had been decided that the part of Not John Maine would be played on Wednesday by Tim “The Executioner” Redding.  Tim had recently played the role of Not Oliver Perez after coming off the disabled list. 

And, y’know, while he was on the disabled list, the part of Not Tim Redding had been played, not too badly, by Livan Hernandez.  Who beat out Timmy, and Freddy Garcia himself, for the role of Not Freddy Garcia (previously known as the role of Not Pedro Martinez/Not Orlando Hernandez).  And, in fact, John Maine and Livan Hernandez were swapped in the rotation for the Subway Series, to give Omar Minaya and the Braintrust the chance to bring up Fernando “The Double Executioner” Nieve.

So really, Tim Redding is playing the part of Not Livan Hernandez, who played the part of Not John Maine, but if we look at the starting rotation as was presented on Opening Day, Tim Redding in at number three means he’s playing the part of Not Oliver Perez (again).  We can forgive Metsblog for forgetting that Oliver Perez existed; we can thank them and wish we had that kind of selective amnesia.

(You will learn quickly that I am not a fan of Oliver Perez.  I could give a damn about his upside.)

But most of all, we can forgive Metsblog for having a hard time keeping all of the above straight.  Consider the nightmare that would ensue if one tried to diagram all that, and you would see the humor, too.  This rotation’s a mess:

  1. Johan Santana
  2. Mike Pelfrey
  3. Tim Redding
  4. Livan Hernandez
  5. Fernando Nieve

Uh… huh…

*Let’s do a little backseat Monday morning armchair Sunday driving:

I fault Perez’s bloated contract first and foremost, though I also fault Carlos Delgado’s option and Luis Castillo’s contract and all the talk about how at each point, the Mets front office had a reasonable case to make for each.  Nay, nein, and nyet; there are always possibilities, to bring it back to Star Trek, but you limit those opportunities when you commit $30.5M in a season to a past-prime infielder who squares to bunt on 0 and 2 and can’t catch a pop-up, a slugging first baseman whose hip I could hear ticking from the nosebleeds, and a left-handed pitcher with a near-terminal case of the Mondays.

Orlando Hudson is a serviceable guy with four more home runs than Luis Castillo.  He’s also making half as much and has just as many Gold Gloves, and his last is half as old as Castillo’s.  I have little to say against Carlos Delgado; I was convinced he’d get to 500 home runs before Gary Sheffield, bum hip or no.  But $8M, by cursory observation, would have gotten us Hudson and Randy Wolf (two more wins than Oliver Perez), and left us $22.5M to buy two more of each.  Or any other more reasonable combinations of hitters and pitchers and sluggers.  Oy.

In any event, we’re here now, which is the phrase I imagine keeps Omar Minaya in smiles and butterscotch candies (which are from the devil).  Complaining will only get a new GM, and I try not to concern myself with front office business, unless it’s good for a chuckle.  Today, when scratching the surface of a comment such as “Not John Maine,” it absolutely is good for a chuckle.  Not John Maine.

I’m not John Maine.  I throw right-handed and I think Jennifer Aniston’s hair is pretty, too.  I do crossword puzzles sometimes, and if I tried real hard I bet I could hit a home run before Mike Pelfrey could.  Why not me?  Why can’t me?  I’ll pack his lunch and take Koji Uehara to school.

Hell: shave his beard and Randy Wolf looks a LITTLE bit like Kris Benson.  You have to squint.

*Salary whatnots were researched on CBS Sports’ MLB Players Page.