Midseason Analysis: Orlando Hernandez
For the majority of his starts, El Duque has been brilliant, mixing speeds and pitches and arm angles with great success in keeping batters guessing and off-balance. On occasion he’s had forgettable outings — usually tied directly to the sharpness of his bread-and-butter overhand curve.
As is always the question with Orlando Hernandez — can he stay healthy? He’s pitching above and beyond what anyone expected this year, but we’d be fine with a level lower if we knew he’d take his turn every five days. Let’s face it, he was brought on this team to win in the postseason, and anything he can give beyond a .500 record in the regular season is gravy.
While the Mets will need him to solidify a spot in the starting rotation in the second half — especially considering the ailments of Oliver Perez and Jorge Sosa, the main concern is to make sure he’s healthy in September and beyond, when the games may be most meaningful. That’s the stage where El Duque shines and prospers. In other words, no more jogging in the outfield.