Monday, July 7, 2008
Olive Perez: Exposed!!!! okay maybe just kind of figured out
I have an unhealthy obsession for or rather a frustrating pre-occupation with Oliver Perez. Any pitcher who has a 4.62 era this season yet has an amazing 1.84 era against my favorite team will make me a little nuts. Couple this with the fact that this pitcher is on the Mets, a team who I have no love for, and you have the perfect recipe for making me infuriated by an athlete. So since I am kind of bored and waiting for summer baby-sitting and mentoring gigs to commence until school starts, I thought I'd explore why Oliver Perez kills my team and what this may mean about him in general.
1). He is great against strong offenses who also happen to be rivals- In addition to his paltry 1.84 era against my Yanks this season and 1.20 era against the Yanks in 2007, he has been dominant this year against the rival Phillies going 1-0 with a perfect 0.00 era in three starts. This should have been 2-0 if not for Billy "Chokejob" Wagner coughing up a 2 strike 2 out bomb to Jason Werth yesterday.His dominant performances, particularly this season, against the two powerful lineups of Philly and New York AL, belie his overall 4.62 era. This tells me that Oliver Perez is like a child with ADHD. He has a very high threshold for excitement perhaps an exceedingly high threshold. In other words, he needs to be in big time games that have lots of scrutiny, excitement and energy around them. Only in this high intensity environment will Oliver have the motivation to succeed. Some might say his salary should be enough motivation and I do not disagree, still its noteworthy that his greatest successes this season have come against the two teams Mets fans most want to beat.
2) He is much much better against lefty hitters- Oliver has compiled an impressive .291 On-base percentage against this year against Lefty hitters. This is far superior to his .368 On-base percentage allowed to righty bats. In addition, his 3.96 era vs lefty batters is solid where as his 4.85 era vs righties is well below the league average. This is somewhat expected given that he is of course a lefty hurler himself but it further explains why he dominates the lefty heavy Yankees offense and a Phillies offense that is very much reliant upon the power of lefty batters Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. He throws a wicked slider which has consistently fooled the likes of Howard and Giambi in his 5 total starts against the Yanks and Phils.
What does this mean?- This means that Oliver Perez is just one of those guys that is a big stage pitcher but not a money pitcher. These two things are not necessarily identical. A money pitcher wins a game whenever his team really needs it. Whether or not this game is in September against a bad 2007 Marlins team or a game 7 in 2006 against the Cardinals. A money pitcher like Curt Schilling or John Smoltz would dominate in both situations. Oliver Perez only dominated in the latter spot and got had in the former. Oliver Perez needs a full ballpark with an exciting crowd, hoards of media and spotlights from all over the country or at least the NY area shining upon him to be at his best. This is why he is a big-state pitcher but not a money pitcher. So if you are the Mets, make sure every game Perez pitches is sold out, loud and has lots of extra media around; if you do this Oliver might become a perennial 18-20 game winner instead of a 13-15 win guy like he is now. He has that kind of stuff. If the Mets organization does not help Oliver in the aforementioned ways (and I don't see why Met fans wouldn't come on a soggy Wednesday night against the juggernaut Mariners) then perhaps the Yanks can take a flyer on him this off-season. Every Yankee game is sold out and the crowd is always pretty raucous. Hmmmm.......