April 11, 2007

Perez starts

Oliver Perez takes the mound tonight for his second start of the season. Perez's first start of the season was in a hostile environment, facing division rival Atlanta in their house and he had an impressive performance. If tonight's start is along the lines of his last, he will be well on his way to fulfilling the ace potential that he's believed to possess. Jeremy Cothran of the Star ledger reports on the development of Perez.

The Mets have put their stock in Perez, and after one start he hasn't disappointed. The left-hander, who locked down the No. 4 spot in the rotation coming out of spring training, chewed up the Braves for seven innings last week. He allowed just five hits, one run and struck out six. He'll get another chance to impress tonight when he faces the Phillies at Shea Stadium.
Here's another key stat from that Braves game: No walks. That pitching line would have been hard to imagine after watching Perez's first start in spring training -- where during warm-ups he beaned a Sports Illustrated photographer with a pitch Bob Uecker would term "Juuuuust a bit outside."
Spring training, however, was where Peterson and Perez got to bond, and where the pitching coach instilled in the 25-year-old Perez the confidence to not be afraid to fail. That was Perez's problem when he first arrived with the Mets on July 31 of last season, after a trade from Pittsburgh. His delivery needed work, he wasn't throwing strikes and he was trying too hard to get by on his lights-out stuff.
"When he came here his delivery was a mess," Peterson said. "It's solid right now. And he's worked incredibly hard, his bullpens have been solid."

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