Warm day, cold night. Good team, bad team. Home or away. None of that seems to matter for Oliver Perez.
Wherever, whenever, Perez has been by far the Mets’ weakest link in their rotation. The struggling left-hander was at it again in yesterday’s 6-5 loss to the Giants. The guy who takes your breath away for all the wrong reasons walked seven, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in 31/3 innings. Perez earned a no-decision thanks to a late offensive explosion from his teammates, but he’s still 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
“I have to be better than that. I’m disappointed,” said Perez, who leads the majors with 25 walks. “I’m better than that. I know what I have to do.”
Perez threw 98 pitches but only 44 for strikes. He was charged with four runs — three earned — and 14 of the first 20 San Francisco batters had three-ball counts. Manager Jerry Manuel mercifully lifted Perez with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth after he issued free passes to Aaron Rowand and Andres Torres to load the bases.
Perez’s short outings aren’t just killing his reputation, they are killing the Mets’ chances of winning. The team simply lacks quality long-relief pitchers to bail out Perez. Raul Valdes tried yesterday but walked in a run and gave up another on a pass ball. Jenrry Mejia, meanwhile, went on to record the loss.
“When we came out for the second, it was a different guy. He lost his release point,” catcher Rod Barajas said about Perez. “His sliders were going to the backstop and the changes were balls out of his hand. He just couldn’t find it.”