Mets may have finally reached their breaking point with the embattled left-hander Oliver Perez. A day after releasing second baseman Luis Castillo, the Mets watched in resignation Saturday as Perez struggled again.
The Mets beat the Washington Nationals, 7-4, behind five and two-thirds shutout innings from the left-hander Chris Capuano, who is close to securing a rotation spot. Perez, meanwhile, seems to be pitching his way out of a bullpen role, despite his $12 million salary.
“We have other guys in here that are working hard and doing a good job from the left side,” said the pitching coach, Dan Warthen. “He’s trying to make a left-handed job, and these other guys are doing a very good job right now.”
Entering in the seventh inning with two on, Perez allowed a long homer on a hanging slider to the right-handed Jeff Frazier. The next hitter, Brian Bixler, also homered. Perez faced one left-handed hitter, Roger Bernadina, and walked him on four pitches.
Perez’s fastball topped out at 87 miles an hour, and Warthen said Capuano showed how a pitcher could be successful at such a speed. But Perez had no command.
“You have to be able to locate and move the ball a little bit,” Warthen said. “You can’t just throw helter-skelter.”
Perez, pitching on consecutive days for the first time in years, acknowledged that he did “a really bad job” but said he was doing everything he could. The fans booed during his warm-ups and cheered when Manager Terry Collins removed him.
The Mets cited fan backlash as a reason they released Castillo. Perez could be even less popular.
The question now is how long Perez will remain a Met, a prospect that seems increasingly dim.
“Sandy and I are going to talk about it,” Collins said, referring to General Manager Sandy Alderson. “We’ll compare notes and come up with a plan.”
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Perez on shaky ground with Mets, could be on his way out soon..