The Mets split a rain-shortened series with the Phillies this weekend in Philadelphia, a series that included a solid start from Mike Pelfrey and a disastrous one from Oliver Perez.
In the opener of the series on Friday night, the Mets jumped ahead early, scoring four runs in the first two innings. Scoring early in the game is something we’re quite used to seeing from this ballclub, but also happens to be something that tends to be incomplete considering the lead evaporates as soon as their starting pitcher takes the mound.
However, this case was different. Mike Pelfrey pitched a solid 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs to earn the victory in a big game for the right hander. At this point, the Mets could not have afforded to have another disaster of an outing by their starting pitcher, making every game important.
The following day, however, with rumors swirling that it could be Oliver Perez’s final chance as a New York Met, the lefty broke down and continued to struggle. In an embarrassing 2 1/3 innings of work, Perez allowed four earned runs to put his ERA for the season at 9.97. Perez wasn’t just getting shelled and giving up hits left and right, but he racked up six walks in not even three innings of work.
Following the game, the Mets wisely didn’t say exactly what they plan to do with Perez, who has a whopping $36 million contract over the course of three years. From what I’ve heard, the Mets will likely send Perez to AAA Buffalo to find his rhythm and regain some accuracy before he is ready to play in the majors again. Another option would be for the team to send him to the bullpen, which I believe would just be worse than keeping him in the rotation when you put together the fact that bullpen situations are usually very big with the fact that he already is too mentally fragile to pitch in a calm situation as a starter.
There are several options the Mets can look into for replacing Perez, but if I was General Manager Omar Minaya, I would stick Nelson Figueroa in the rotation. Figueroa made a solid start with New York back in April before they were forced to designate him for assignment to make room on the roster.
With today’s rainout, the Mets will now head to Atlanta for a three-game set with the Braves starting tomorrow night at 7 p.m.