Two things from Friday night’s game stood out as rather unbelievable, not necessarily in order of import to Mets fans.
1. Keith Hernandez said he has better things to do with his day than be driven a half-hour from the Mets’ hotel in Miami to get a haircut, yet I can’t believe Keith Hernandez has anything better to do with his day.
2. Jerry Manuel said the Mets will have to evaluate Oliver Perez’s status in the starting rotation, yet I can’t believe Oliver Perez will be in the Mets’ rotation the next time his turn comes up.
Keith found himself a fine barber on the premises of Whatchamacallit Stadium. His problem was solved. Ours, regarding who will take the ball every fifth day and give us a reasonable chance to compete, must be taken care of next. En route to that solution, the ball must be removed from Oliver Perez’s cold or hot dead fingers.
Ollie’s dead in this rotation. He’s dead on this team. He’s a sympathetic soul and a human being, but get him the hell out of here. Get him to Buffalo or points south. Keep him off the Met mound at all costs…even if it costs more than $20 million over the next season and two-thirds.
This has become a farce. It was a farce when he was granted a three-year, $36 million contract, it was a farce when he was allowed make ineffective start after ineffective start in 2009 and it was high farce when, this week, the excuse made for him in every corner was it was tough to pitch at windy Citi Field last week. I’m sure it was. I’m also sure it was windy for Tim Lincecum, who managed all right. It was windy most of the last homestand. Nobody pitched as poorly as Oliver Perez in that wind. Just you wait, we were told. Just you wait till Ollie reaches the beaches in Miami. He likes that hot weather. He’s had success at Whatchamacallit Stadium with the sacks of Soilmaster stacked up in the dugout.
So it’s Ollie vs. the Marlins in ideal conditions, and guess who had it most ideal Friday night? Ollie’s problem wasn’t windy walks. It was home run upon home run upon home run climbing into the South Florida atmosphere. The weather didn’t cure him. Nothing cures him. We hold our breath with this guy. We wait for the slightest sign of recovery. We pat him on the head when he goes two innings without calamity. That’s fine for your kid’s tee ball league. It’s a disgrace for Oliver Perez, highly compensated professional.
And what are we waiting for exactly? What is the upside here? Oliver Perez hasn’t gone seven innings in a Mets win since August 8, 2008. He’s thrown 31 consecutive non-outstanding starts since then, and it wasn’t like he was burning it up all that much before this extended run of uselessness. Rick Peterson lost him. Dan Warthen lost him. He’s beyond coaching. He’s beyond help at the major league level. Surely there is a league below where somebody can tinker with his mechanics or his mindset or something.
What’s astoundingly obvious is it can’t be done here, not every fifth day, not in games that count.
There’s no sense of urgency with this management. Jerry Manuel trots the same ineffective lineup out there a day after acknowledging it was ineffective. Guess what — it’s still ineffective. Ollie, meanwhile, is a veritable white flag every fifth day. Other than amortization of what used to be an asset, there’s no excuse for him continuing to be trusted to pitch. The excuses must end five games from now. Be it R.A. Dickey or P.T.J. Misch or D.K. Gee or E.J. Korvettes, the Mets must take Ollie to the proverbial returns counter and exchange him for another arm, one slightly more alive, as if any of them could be deader.
The Mets maintain no sure things on their roster and precious few near certainties. Of the quintet of starters in their employ, Johan Santana is a near certainty. Mike Pelfrey is nearing near certainty status. John Maine and Jon Niese, coming at it from different angles, are still finding their place in this world. Oliver Perez is simply lost. He got his weather this time. He says there’s nothing physically wrong with him. His only ill is terrible, terrible, terrible pitching outside the strike zone and within the strike zone. If it’s not bases on balls, it’s bases on gophers. Per Roseanne Roseannadanna long ago, it’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s the other. And Oliver Perez sure makes a lot of money for a guy who pitches from hunger.