Game 132: Loss
Rockies 8 Mets 4
OK, so the cork came off of the bottle holding the lightning of Oliver Perez. So we won’t have a flamethrowing lefty in the postseason. No biggie.
Although Perez looked awful, and he had no command whatsoever, it did appear that he was throwing more pitches close to the mid-90s; he hit 94 on several occasions. The big issue in Pittsburgh was that he lost velocity and was down in the 88-89 range. In his first start, his fastball was in the 91-92 range, and this time out he was more like 93-94. Now it’s entirely possible that the speed had something to do with the thin air in Colorado, but I’d like to pull out something positive.
Friday night has the return of Tom Glavine vs. Wandy Rodriguez. The Mets, for whatever reason, have had some trouble with Wandy. Luckily, they’ll only need to score one or two runs to beat the punchless ‘Stros.
One thing is certain: Oliver Perez’s mechanics are a pitching coach’s nightmare. If the Mets can find a way to get him to repeat his motion, they may have something. One thing in particular that strikes me is the fact that his stride foot lands closed and front leg plants stiff, which in turn cuts off his hip rotation and causes him to throw across his body. There have been a handful of pitchers who could get away with this — Steve Carlton comes to mind — but too many who could not, at least not over the long haul (Mitch Williams comes to mind). So another if: if the Mets can somehow get him to stride just a few inches to the right, and with a slightly more open front toe, he might be able to get his hips involved and regain the 96-98 MPH velocity he had a few years ago. I didn’t see much of him in 2004, and can’t find any video, so I have no idea if this is the issue … just a layman’s evaluation and theory.
Oh, was there a game? And here we thought it was another controlled, game-condition tryout for Oliver Perez.
The batters did a pretty commendable job, with Jose Reyes blistering the ball all over the place and Paul LoDuca continuing his quiet, all-around productive performance. David Wright, however, continues to slump; he had only one home run and a single (as Mr. Willie pointed out, he’s certainly no George Brett). Endy Chavez continued to prove why he is MLB’s best fourth outfielder by collecting three hits against lefthanded pitchers.
Garrett Atkins hit something like .800 in this series. Why no Met pitcher considered stuffing a fastball into his armpit is beyond me. The guy dives into the plate on every pitch and his hot hitting could have been equalized by a few inside pitches.
Todd Helton is looking awful — at least for him. It is painful to watch a guy who was such an amazing hitter struggle as he is. He was the kind of pure hitter who you would drop everything you were doing just to watch him do battle; much like Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, George Brett, and Paul Molitor. Hopefully he’ll be able to recover from his health issues during the offseason and come back next year to be the player we remember.
Shawn Green is showing vulnerability against lefthanders throwing sweeping breaking pitches off the outside half of the plate … and it shouldn’t be that way. He showed that he is capable of sitting back and waiting on pitches and dropping them into left field — witnessed by his big double in Game 128 against Aaron Fultz. If he can change his approach — think opposite field against these type of lefties — he will be devastating. Rick Down should have Pedro Feliciano throw BP to Green for a week.
ChadBrad is so automatic he should be called “The Machine”.
Jose Reyes is easily the most fun and exciting player to watch this side of the Mississippi. And the other side, too. He also gives the best interviews, because he is so obviously speaking directly from the heart and not through some PR filter. His quote before the game about hanging out at the mall with his buddy Anderson Hernandez made me believe I was listening to a 13-year-old.
Tulowitzki and Spilborghs will have to change their names if they want long-term success in the Majors. Or they’ll end up in Kansas City like Grudzielanek and Mientkewicz.
Is it me or is Keith Hernandez slowly turning into Phil Rizzuto? His personal comments (his nephew, his golf game, etc.) are slowly creeping into the broadcasts … I’m waiting for him to start wishing happy birthdays to 92-year-old women in retirement homes (not that there’s anything wrong with fans like that!) and begin talking about the best place to find a cannoli in Bergen County …