Except for one glorious 9-1 homestand last month, very little good has come of the Mets since about, oh, the middle of June last year. Anything and everything that can go wrong has — at least twice — and likely will again as this season progresses. The past eights days — save for a miraculous comeback on Tuesday night when they rallied from 6-1 down to win 8-6 against the Nationals– were a microcosm for what has become of the Mets over the past three seasons. Losses (five in a row after being swept away by the Marlins) of the ugliest variety. Not to mention the Uggla variety. Injuries. Shoddy pitching. Clutchless (I invented the term) hitting.
And in the middle of it all — Oliver Perez. Poor, poor Ollie. After his latest beatdown, a four homer (two by the aforementioned Uggla — Dan, that is), seven-run outing in just 3.1 innings against the Marlins on Friday, the Mets enigmatic lefthander is more than ever, the face of despair of a team in danger of settling into last place for the long haul.
Ollie, who was basically a no-show in 2009 — the first year of his three year, $36-million (ouch!) deal with the Mets — has been slightly better this year, if for no other reason than he’s apparently healthy and able to walk to the mound every fifth day. Which is not necessarily a good thing when you’re getting lit up like he did the other night in Miami. Or having trouble finding the plate, as he has most starts this season. The night usually ends for Ollie with him sitting in the dugout looking as lost as a three-legged horse in the middle of a snow storm. Which is really lost.
Of course, Ollie is hardly the Mets only problem. But at this point, we need someone to vent our frustrations toward. And he is a convenient target. His weekly meltdowns, which can make even the most hardened of souls cringe and squirm, have become too difficult to stomach — for fans, media, and I would have to guess by now, his teammates, his manager, and his coaches. I try not play GM with Off the Foul Pole, but the last eight days have driven me to the edge. I’m not suggesting they trade Ollie (because they can’t), or cut him loose (they can but there’s this small matter of still owing him about $20 million), but a nice extended stay at AAA Buffalo might do the guy some good. He can work on his mechanics and whatever else ails him far from the boo-birds and media hordes in Flushing.
If he can work things out, it may finally bring a smile to his face. After all, I’ve known many people who began smiling more once they left Buffalo.