I’ve always thought that Oliver Perez and John Maine were two sides of the same coin, the difference being that Perez’s side is the one that usually lands facedown in shit. Both have always seemed to be in the throes of dominance before something goes spectacularly awry in one inning–walks, errors, bloop or broken-bat hits. Such was the case tonight in the second inning of the Mets’ 6-4 win in Atlanta, only making it all the more frustrating (probably to Maine the most) that he only allowed one other hit in any other inning. Which draws a major line between Perez and Maine, and why Maine will always be more of a fan favorite than his currently bullpen-residing (why is this a good idea? No really, I would like to know, since I see NO REASON for it) left-handed ADD counterpart: Maine tries to fight through his struggles, whereas Perez just throws up his hands and quits. Times like tonight’s second inning make Maine incredibly frustrating, but the fact that he shows a bit of bulldog on the mound when things don’t go his way (much like his good buddy Mike Pelfrey has shown) is commendable, especially compared with Perez, sitting out there with a group of pitchers who actually know how to get people out in a tight spot. I hope he takes notes.
Speaking of the bullpen, I’ve delayed making this proclamation because I wasn’t sure if it would take, but: Bobby Parnell, I love you. You fill the naive-country-boy-in-the-bullpen void that was created when Joe Smith was traded. Except with less personality, but who cares when he’s shown remarkable poise and great velocity and movement on his pitches. Walking the leadoff man in the seventh inning was not so good, but he came back to get the very next batter to hit into a double play. Very Joe Smith-like. I think his performances out of the pen have gone unnoticed because of JJ Putz and Frankie Rodriguez, but I would even put him above Putz as far as pitchers I feel comfortable seeing coming out of the bullpen. He has quietly been a dependable workhorse, and I think is by far our best bridge to the Putz-Rodriguez closeout.
Back-to-back two run homers by Carlos Beltran and David Wright (Beltran included another two-run shot an inning later) were pretty nice too, especially considering I thought Javier Vasquez was about to throw a no-hitter. A nice birthday present, even if it was a day late. I’ll take it.