Coming through in the clutch to the tune of a 7.94 ERA

October 16th, 2006 → 12:36 am @ // No Comments

So many people are gushing over Oliver Perez’s 5.2 inning, 5-run outing last night in St. Louis you’d have thought Pedro hobbled out of the Mets’ clubhouse and pulled a Schilling. ESPN called Perez the game’s unsung hero because “he kept the game close — before the Mets’ offense exploded — and went deep enough to give the bullpen a much-needed break.”

Topping that, the Times‘s peerless Murray Chass* wrote, “Perez did not resemble Sandy Koufax or Mickey Lolich, but he did the job the Mets needed him to do in their 12-5 victory. Of such efforts heroes are made, in this case an unlikely hero.” Then, citing the Elias Sports Bureau (Chass’s favorite “source” — he’s cited Elias 17 times since the baseball season started), Chass wrote, “Perez, after all, had a 6.55 regular-season earned run average with the Pirates and the Mets, and that is the highest E.R.A. ever for a pitcher making a postseason start of any kind, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.” I’m pretty sure Elias doesn’t keep stats like this, but I bet it’s one of the only times a pitcher was called a hero after giving almost a run an inning and doing his best to give up a lead.

To wit: Perez gave up a run in the first, gave back a 2-1 Mets lead in the third, and, after the Mets scored three in the 5th, coughed up a home run to perpetual power threat David Eckstein in the Cardinals’ first at-bat in the bottom of the inning. (For those of you keeping track at home, Eckstein hit two home runs in 123 games this season…which, granted, is a bit off of his career-average of a four-bagger ever 31.5 games.) Before being yanked in the sixth, Perez gave up two more homers, although the Mets’ six-run explosion meant even Perez’s best efforts couldn’t bring the Cards back in the game. Context is everything, I guess. (Or, perhaps, in the world of sports reporting, reality is nothing.)

* Increasingly, the Times seems to feel that Chass is, well, peerless as well. Chass’s piece is nowhere to be found on the homepage for the paper’s sports section, and, in what increasingly appears to be a trend, Chass (unlike George Vecsey, Dave Anderson, or Harvey Araton) is the only one of today’s sports columnists who’s piece you can read without being a member of TimesSelect.

Post Categories: 2006 Playoffs & Murray Chass & Sports Reporters

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