Mets fans enter the series against the Cincinnati Reds with some trepidation. The joy of the recent win streak has been erased by two blowouts at the hands of the Phillies. First place is gone, maybe for the season.
Now they head into Cincinnati leading with the weakest part of the rotation. That means the number one complained about Met, Oliver Perez (0-2, 4.35 ERA) will take the mound against Reds rookie, Mike Leake (2-0, 3.25 ERA). If there was one game that could make Ollie’s season it would be this one. The Mets need a huge start from him tonight, they need him to be the pitcher he was in Game 7 of the 2006 NLDS. What they don’t need is another poor outing.
Or maybe they do. What would a 3-inning, 6-walk performance from Oliver Perez do for the Mets?
For one thing, it will put more pressure on Jerry Manuel to get Perez out of the rotation. He hasn’t pitched well all season, and every Met fan cringes whenever he takes the mound. Its not like the Mets don’t have options. They have Hisanori Takahashi in the pen, this 35-year old rookie was a starter in Japan for the better part of 10 years, he’s qualified to start. They also have R.A. Dickey (3-1, 2.33 ERA) in Triple A Buffalo who’s pitched real well this year. The journeyman knuckle baller retired 27 in a row in this last start after a leadoff hit. That’s two options right there.
I know Manuel wants to stick with Perez, hoping he will straighten things out, but his job is on the line this season. Mike Jacobs wasn’t working out at first and you made a change there. Ike Davis is working. Putting Reyes in the 3-hole, also working. Make a change with Ollie.
Second thing, it will let us know what kind of team this Mets team will be. Will they fold like last years team? Will they give us enough hope to get us through the summer, keeping our dreams alive until they crush us like this did in 2007 & 2008. Or will they come together and play like they did last week at home and make all Met fans happy.