The Mets are now a game out of first, with a big series against the Phillies coming up this weekend. Whom would you rather see pitch for the Mets on Sunday - staff ace Johan Santana or staff enigma Oliver Perez?
Before Monday's rainout, Jerry Manuel was going with Perez.
Using the same sort of rigid thinking that prompted Manuel to bat Mike Jacobs fourth because it was more important to have a lefty break up the righties than to have a major-leaguer hitting cleanup, the Met skipper did not want to skip anyone in the rotation, even with off days and pitchers of vastly different quality.
So Santana, scheduled to start Tuesday, was going to be passed over Sunday night because Thursday's off day would push back the whole rotation and make it Ollie's turn to pitch.
Monday's rainout means that both Ollie and Johan are pitching today, which gives Jerry the out to rework his rotation. Now it appears that Santana will pitch on Sunday against the first-place Phillies instead of Monday against the Reds.
But Santana always should have been pitching on Sunday. The only reason Manuel wanted Perez to face the Phillies was that he did not want Ollie to go six days between starts.
Perez has exceeded expectations so far with an ERA this season of 3.71, but his WHIP is 1.53 with the help of ten walks in 17 innings. It's not as if he's in such a groove that nobody should upset his routine.
The Yankees were willing to skip Phil Hughes until April 15, but Manuel won't skip Ollie?
Tony LaRussa managed the 20-inning game for the long haul. He did not appear to care if the Cardinals won the game because they are the heavy favorites in their division and LaRussa has no worries about losing his job.
The first week of May is way too early for a critical series, but Manuel can't pull a LaRussa this weekend against the Phillies, for his sake and for the team's sake.