The Philadelphia Phillies are a game away from sweeping the Washington Nationals in their current four-game series and are playing the kind of baseball that Mets fans wish the New Yorkers would play. But the Mets aren't, and there's a good reason for it.
The Mets aren't as good as the Phillies.
In the infield, only Wright is having a better season than his Philly equivalent, who these days is Abraham Nunez. And in the outfield, Jayson Werth is better than both Lastings Milledge and Shawn Green; Aaron Rowand (.380 OBP, .522 SLG) has a higher OPS (OBP+SLG) than Carlos Beltran (.356 and .525), and he's almost as good a fielder; and though I'm not a fan of Pat Burrell, whose outfield play reminds me of Ron Swoboda's in his early days, Burrell's hitting on a par with Moises Alou. Burrell's on-base percentage and slugging average are .403 and .508 (.911) respectively; whereas Alou's are .394 and .527 (.921), and Burrell's missed far fewer games with injuries.
Sure, the Mets have "bigger name" pitchers, such as Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez; however, no Mets pitcher has been as good this season as Phillies starter Cole Hamels, and no Mets reliever has been as good as Phillies reliever J. C. Romero, whose ERA is 2.13.
Further, the Mets bottom two starters, John Maine and Oliver Perez, have been too inconsistent for my liking.
What Perez seems to need
Perez did do something yesterday that he had only done once before this season on May 13. He pitched eight innings, averaging only 13 pitches an inning, a very low number for him.
I think having Castro catch the game had something to do with Perez's performance. Here are the outcomes of Perez's last 10 starts and each game's starting catcher:
I don't think it's a coincidence that all three of the Mets losses and both of Perez's losses (8/3 and 8/29) came with Lo Duca catching. Sure, Lo Duca has caught more games than the others, however, in my opinion when Castro's behind the plate Perez is a better pitcher.
Perez appears to be a "high-maintenance" player, as evidenced by the comments Mets manager made after yesterday's game. “I’m always on his case,” Randolph said. “He needs to prove to himself that when he attacks the zone and trusts his stuff, that’s the kind of pitcher he can be. I told him how proud I was of him.”
Perez is an adult. The fact that Randolph believes he needs to be "always on his case" makes me wonder whether Perez lacks the maturity to succeed consistently in the majors and why Randolph feels he needs to be a cheerleader for a 26 year old.
The Mets have eight games left to play. Perez will pitch at least one of them. Let's hope that Castro's his catcher.