Many of us are still feeling good after watching Jonathon Niese make his season debut and deliver a top notch performance, beating the Pirates and giving us something to get excited about.
I don’t know what prompted the Mets to make the last minute switch and replace Ken Takahashi with Niese for that start, but I’m certainly glad they did. I have nothing against Takahashi and I didn’t mean to knock him when he was originally announced as the replacement starter for Oliver Perez, but lets face it, the Mets were better off giving us a glimpse of the future.
One of the most remarkable accomplishments for Niese in that game may have gotten lost in the excitement of the victory, and that was the number of batters he walked in the game. None… zero… nada…
It was so refreshing to watch him command the strike zone with such relative ease. After the game Niese told reporters that he heard CitiField was a pitchers dream, so his game plan was to pound the strike zone. Why this game plan hasn’t been adopted by all of our starters, is still a mystery to me, but I detract.
We’ve heard about Jon Niese for the better part of 2 1/2 seasons now. He has been among the Mets top three prospects for most of that time. He was regarded as an untouchable when the Mets were negotiating for Johan Santana, and again this off season. So would it be a total shock if he managed to pitch effectively for his next half dozen or so starts?
The purpose of this post is to pose a few simple hypothetical questions. Hypothetical, but not altogether far-fetched.
What if Jon Niese continues to pitch well and continually gives the Mets a chance to win?
What if John Maine, Mike Pelfrey and Livan Hernandez continue to pitch like they have in their last few starts?
Given those two very likely scenarios, is there any good rationale for upsetting the apple cart and bringing Oliver Perez back to the rotation?
It’s a question that the Mets may not have to answer for at least another two weeks or maybe three, but answer it they must.
I wanted to know what some of your thoughts were and how the Mets should move if and when they become faced with the situation I described above.
Here are some facts to consider to help you make an educated decision.
The Mets missed the post season by just one game for two years straight. Oliver Perez has already given the Mets four tough losses. Three of them came after a win. Since his last loss, the Mets have won six straight.
Oliver Perez goes to Brooklyn and then Buffalo and looks solid in two rehab starts against Single-A and Triple-A batters. He gets activated from the DL, then what?