Today I will be evaluating what is considered the biggest weakness in the New York Mets, the starting rotation mainly Ollie Pelf and Maine. These three starters for the New York Mets have all shown glipses of greatness and potential during their time as Mets but their have been many things stopping them from reaching their true potential.
PELFREY: Pelfrey had an outstanding 2008 and great begining of the 2009 season, until his infamous three balk game in San Fransico. Pelfrey went through a very
dissapointing and frustrating 2009. I dont know what it was but somewhere in the middle of the season he forgot how to pitch and got the yips. His sinker wasn’t sinking his slider wasn’t sliding and he couldn’t control a single pitch. At one point it got so bad that after getting yanked from a game at Coors Field in Denver he jogged around the parking lot in order to get the game off of his mind. In my opinion he was a subject of the Verducci Effect. The Verducci Effect happens to even the best putchers. An example is Justin Verlander. He had an awful season in 2008 and rebounded to Cy Young form in 2009. I expect a comeback like this from Mike Pelfrey next season.
Prediction 15-9 3.42 ERA
MAINE: Maine is one of the players who the saying ” Great when healthy” applies to. Its too bad he hasn’t been healthy since 2007 when he went 15-10 with a 3.33 ERA. At the end of last season when Maine recovered from his injury he showed glimpses of the 2007 John Maine. He was locating his fastball well and throwing good offspeed pitches. The “Maine Thing” ( pun intended) is for him to become more effective with his pitches. If he can stay healthy and work on becoming more effective I think Maine will have a solid year
Prediction 11-9 3.97 ERA
PEREZ: Now this one is the toughest. Oliver Perez is probably thr most nerve wracking and aggravating player to watch some days and other days he looks like Sandy Koufax. Oliver has shown he can be great like in 2007 and in 2004 with the Pirates but for some reason I get the feeling that hes not all there. I’ve heard from many people that Ollie is a nutjob. Well at least theres some good news, Oliver Perez went to a Training Facility in Arizona in order to get in shape for the 2010 season. I expect Ollie to bounce back from last year to somewhere like 2008 form.
Prediction 10-8 4.22 ERA
Tonight, is the first of many “What If’s”. The inaugural What If is one that I have been wondering for a long time; what if Duaner Sanchez gets into a different taxi cab?
Duaner Sanchez had be lights out as the set-up man and bridge to Billy Wagner. At the time his stats were:
5-1, 2.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 44 K’s, in 49 Games and 55.1 Innings.
Then, Duaner decided to get into a Taxi Cab in the early morning hours of July 31, 2006. The taxi crashed and Duaner injured his shoulder. In a hurry to get a reliever, the Mets traded Xavier Nady to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez. Aaron Heilman was named the new set-up man for the rest of the season.
We all know what came next. Ollie pitched in 7 games for the Mets in 2006. He went 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA and a 2.4 K/BB ratio.
In Game 7 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, Yadier Molina came to bat against Heilman with a tie game in the 9th inning. He hit a two run home run. The Mets went on to lose that game, and Heilman never recovered.
So, what if Duaner doesn’t get hurt?
Here’s how I picture it:
· Duaner finishes the season in the set up role and continues his lights out pitching.
· Xavier Nady (who already had 14 homers) has a career year as the Met Right Fielder.
· The Flushing Faithful never see the likes of Shawn Green.
· Aaron Heilman isn’t put into the setup role.
· Not being the setup man, Heilman never faces Molina.
· Duaner puts the Cards in the Deck in the top of the Ninth.
· Mets win the NLCS and go on to win the World Series.
· Mets do not have to deal with the hangover of losing that game and there is no 2007 or 2008 collapse.
· Aaron Heilman doesn’t have “Brad Lidge Syndrome” and is still a productive reliever.
· 2008 Mets bullpen is much better and Mets make the playoffs.
· Oliver Perez is never a Met, and Derek Lowe is now the Mets second starter. And, with Ollie never a Met, there is no huge contract that prevents the Mets from signing free agents.
But sadly, there are no mulligans in life. Duaner Sanchez DID get into that Cab. Aaron Heilman DID give up that Homer.
What If Duaner Sanchez doesn’t get into the cab? We will never know.
-Written By Matt Grasso