Forget the DL. I have figured out how to get Oliver Perez to pitch a great game. Find a way to have him pitch against Johan Santana. Apparently, any pitcher, even Chan Ho Park, suddenly starts matching Santana zero for zero when facing the Mets' ace.
Maybe standing on the same mound just after the magical Santana gives the opposing pitcher temporary special powers. Before tonight, Park had an ERA of 8.57. Tonight, no runs, one hit and two walks in six innings. The Mets could test this theory by having Santana stand on the mound just before each inning that Ollie pitches.
And the Santana music played for Ollie would be (You've got to change your) "Evil Ways."
Only in a Santana game could a walk, an infield hit and a throwing error constitute a rally. And the Mets would not have scored had Crazylegs Carlos Delgado not lumbered past Razor Shines' stop sign to slide home with the only run of the game. Sliding home with an ailing hip, no less.
The Mets won despite Jerry Manuel pinch-hitting for Santana in the seventh with a slumping Ryan Church. Santana had thrown only 101 pitches, but did have to sit around for awhile during the long bottom of the seventh. But with J.J. Putz unavailable, Jerry Manuel turned to Pedro Feliciano in the eighth inning. I didn't trust Feliciano to make it through the eighth, and he did end up allowing the tying run to get to third, but he did complete a scoreless inning. So far this year, Feliciano has an ERA of 7.50 on the road, but 0.00 at Citi Field, so maybe he's safer at home.
It's easy to take Santana and Francisco Rodriguez for granted because they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, but to have two high-priced free agent pitchers come to New York and perform at such a high level is something the New York teams have certainly not been able to take for granted. And K-Rod is doing it right from the start of his New York tenure - 8-for-8 in save opportunities, including three in the last three games.
For the first time in awhile, it does not feel like Santana and pray for rain, with Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and even Livan Hernandez pitching better lately and Ollie safely stashed on the DL. Let's hope they can keep it up. Shine(s) on you crazy Met team!