Oliver Perez had a bad day.
To start the bottom half of the third inning, Perez walked Jimmy Rollins. After a Pedro Feliz fly out, Perez walked Eric Bruntlett. Then he walked Carlos Ruiz, loading the bases for pitcher Jamie Moyer and setting the scene for the unthinkable: walking the pitcher to walk in a run. Jerry Manuel was less than pleased, pulling Perez after 2.1 innings, six walks, five hits, and only two strikeouts. Of the 77 pitches Perez threw, only 36 were strikes.
Entering the game Perez’ BB/9 sat just shy of seven. Extremely odd, given Perez is not only throwing more pitches in the zone this season (52.5%, Perez’ Mets career high) but also more first pitch strikes, nearly 60% (previous high with the Mets: 55.6% in 2007.) Generally, those two variables don’t have an inverse relationship with the amount of walks issued.
Even worse for Perez, his batted profile is ugly. No matter your source for batted ball data, the number of line drives hit off Perez is in the neighborhood of 30%. Unnecessary baserunners + tons of liners = the opposite of fun.
Perhaps the only humorous aspect of this affair is the articles being produced on how the Mets flopped when choosing Perez over an additional year of Derek Lowe. These articles are being written as if, within the time since, new information arrived and suggested Perez was a far less valuable pitcher than Lowe. The idea isn’t simply hindsight – after all, Eric laid out the terms and everything before either deal wrapped and Matthew suggested Perez was overpaid directly after— but why weren’t these same articles written by these same people before or directly after the Mets made that decision? Why has it taken a month of the new season for everyone to finally realize that the Mets may have made a mistake?
As poor as Perez has pitched, unless there’s something more at work here – an injury, an outlier, whatever – his FIP will not remain this high all season. Meanwhile, hopefully this leads to some smarter decision making and decision making analysis on behalf of those who entertained the idea of Perez over Lowe, and perhaps next time they won’t entertain the idea one bit.