Oliver Perez and just about everyone else inside the Mets clubhouse attributed tonight’s wild seven-walk performance to mechanical flaws and don’t feel there’s any reason to worry.
I guess not, although Perez was clearly fighting some sort of demons on the mound in the third inning when he got two outs, gave up a single to Chase Utley, walked four in a row, hit a batter and left to a chorus of boos.
Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson said it best: “When it’s Oliver Perez vs. Oliver Perez, somebody has to lose.”
Tonight, that loss was tagged to the Mets. They can’t totally make Perez the scapegoat. They didn’t hit Phillies pitcher Adam Eaton. Maybe they were stunned that there was a pitcher throwing strikes.
Looking back, I think Randolph could have pulled Perez earlier. It was so obvious that he was losing confidence with every pitch, falling off the mound and muttering to himself. I only got a glimpse of it on the television overhead, but when Reyes and Wright went to go chat with Perez, it looked like he was staring right through them.
Perez, Lo Duca and Randolph all made it seem like Perez was “just missing the plate” with his pitches. I didn’t think so. If you saw how motionless the Phillies batters were in the box, you wouldn’t think so either.
Afterwards, though, Perez was pretty upbeat. I remember him being a stand-up guy in my brief encounters with him late last season and marveled at his composure and confidence against the Braves last Friday.
He said that “before, I would have lost my mind and gotten angry” if something like this happened. So we’ll see next Wednesday if he’s really turned a corner in his career or if the Atlanta game was a tease.
I’ll be back again tomorrow for the rain-out (writers trick: say it’s going to be rained out and then it won’t be).