Oliver’s Army

Willie Randolph on who is picthing Game 7 and why: “Oliver Perez, and I like him.”
Given Darren Oliver’s record as a reliever compared to starting, I agree with this, much as it horrifies me to start a guy as volatile as Perez in an elimination game, and on three days’ rest no less. The good news is, Perez has great stuff and is unpredictable, so the Cardinals don’t get an edge from just having seen him.
Here is the Mets’ staff by how rested they are for Game Seven in terms of pitches thrown:

Pitcher D-1 D-2 D-3 D-4 D-5 D-6 D-7
Perez 92
Oliver 72
Trachsel 43
Glavine 80 89
Maine 98 88
Hernandez 18 10 1
Mota 4 15 8 23 19
Feliciano 23 10 1
Bradford 14 7 20 29
Heilman 12 33
Wagner 24 24 15

Glavine reportedly is available for an inning, roughly. Trachsel, hopefully, will not pitch. Oliver has four days’ rest and should be fresh if needed. The thing that jumps out here, though, is how rested Heilman is; he’s really the guy I’d like to see go two or three innings tomorrow with the chips down. Wagner threw a lot of pitches tonight but had several days of rest before that, and could be sharper tomorrow from having pitched tonight, as relievers sometimes are. Maine and Glavine are the only guys on the staff who have thrown more than 24 pitches over the past three days.

13 thoughts on “Oliver’s Army”

  1. I wouldn’t mind seeing Heilman in a save situation. I’ve completely lost faith in Wagner. He’s been horribel all post-season, as he has been his entire career.
    Heilman, though, has looked dominant, as he has for months now.

  2. Really. You’d think he’d be able to get Taguchi out in Game 7 just according to the law of averages, if nothing else.

  3. Wagner is simply doing what all non-Mariano closers do; especially with little work over the last week, so I would be less cocerned about that.
    I was impressed by what Randolph did with bringing in Bradford last night. He learned what others didn’t. You don’t bring in Branca to pitch to a guy who took you deep if you can avoid it (harumph), and you look at trends in stance and swing, and put in the right tool accordingly. Willie calls it his hunch, Malcolm Gladwell called it a Blink moment, but that is what it really is.

  4. Daryl-
    Agree re the non-Mariano point, in general.
    But Wagner’s been awful this post-season, just as he was in Houston, and as he’s been his entire career in crunch time.
    In 13+ career post-season innings, he’s given up 10 earned runs, and is 2-for-4 in saves, plus the loss the other night.
    We don’t want him on the mound tonight.

  5. The flip side of Heilman being so rested is that Willie hasn’t used him enough. I mean, is the ONLY situation Willie wants to use him in the 8th inning when the Mets are ahead by a few runs? I’m surprised he wasn’t used at least once during games 1, 3, 4, & 5.

  6. I would use Wagner to close this one out. He’s still Billy Wagner. I’d tell him to pitch around Taguchi, though.
    But what I’d like to see is Heilman given two innings instead of one, assuming there are several innings of relief to be pitched.

  7. The ideal for tonight is Perez going about three, then Darren Oliver for a couple, and then the usual bullpen rotation over the final innings. I definitely agree with you, Crank, that Heilman should get multiple innings, especially if Perez and Oliver are both ineffective.
    And I’d be sweating in the ninth no matter who is pitching. Wagner will get it done tonight, if needs be.

  8. Paul, let’s face it, the ideal is Oliver Perez goes 7. Darren Oliver is a fine long man, but long men are such because they are not good starters, nor are they good enough to set up or close. I prefer Perez to Oliver because he has more stuff on the ball. Oliver is someone they’ve now seen for multiple at bats, and that is not a good thing.
    If things go well, Perez will go for 5, then Bradford/Feliciano/Mota team up for 6/7, then Heilman 8 and Wagner in the 9th. Things never go according to plan however. We’ve seen Mariano blow the Series in 2001 and the Red Sox in games 4 and 5 in 2004. So you never know.
    Mike, I don’t know what numbers any closer has in the post season, including Mariano, but I’m reasonably sure they are not as good as in the regular season for them. They are all facing teams that are the best, and those teams are all they see.

  9. Cardinal pitchers named Jeff: 1.83 ERA
    Non-Jeff named pitchers: 6.12 ERA
    Gotta get to Suppan early apparently.
    Aside from Perez having the worst regular season ERA for a pitcher starting a Game 7 in the history of baseball has a Game 7 starter ever been sent, during that season, to the minors by the worst team in the league (Pirates)?

  10. Daryl:
    Fair point. The true ideal is Perez shutting them down for a complete nine. But I guess I’m looking at an acceptable level of performance tonight. If we can a couple of effective innings each out of Perez and Oliver, that should be enough, especially if Heilman can also go more than one inning. My feeling is that Perez will probably come out at the slightest bit of trouble.

  11. I didn’t know the Crank was an Elvis Costello fan. That’s a cool chart, but as a Tiger fan I wouldn’t mind seeing tonight’s victor having to burn through seven or eight different pitchers.

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