"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today." -James Joyce

New York Mets' lefty Oliver Perez was (2-10) in 15 starts and looked absolutely lost on the mound in Pittsburgh when the then-twenty-four year old pitcher was traded to NY in 2006, along with pitcher Roberto Hernandez, for outfielder Xavier Nady, and Perez proceeded to go (1-3) with a 6.38 in 7 regular season starts as a Met.

After regaining his confidence in 2 emergency Playoff starts with New York to end his '06 season, Perez once again began to look like the same pitcher who, just two years earlier as a Pirate, had posted a (12-10) record with a 2.98 ERA in 30 starts, and amassed 239 K's in 196.0 IP during his break-out 2004 season, and Perez followed up on the '06 Postseason success with a (15-10) record in 2007 and the first sub-4.00 ERA...(a respectable 3.56)...he had posted since that '04 campaign.

I've been following Oliver Perez's career since the first big year in Pittsburgh, and in fact, Perez is one of the few Mets' starters I enjoy watching pitch...(ed. note- "I'll watch Pedro because of residual Expos-affection, but I won't enjoy it.") That doesn't mean I'm happy when Oliver Perez holds the Nationals to just 2 hits and 1 unearned run in 5.0 innings on the hill like he did today in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, the Nationals' Spring home, where New York claimed a 7-3 win over Washington. ("I like Perez less each day he's a Met...")

Washington lefty Mike O'Connor wasn't as effective as Oliver Perez, as O'Connor alternately, allowed 7 hits, 5 runs, (4 earned),  and 1 walk with 3 K's in 4.2 innings to raise his ERA to 4.38 and drop his record to (1-1) on the Spring.

Nationals' Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that O'Connor, "...struggled out there with his command," in Mr. Ladson's article entitled, "Latest start no holiday for O'Connor", and Mr. St. Claire then elaborates:

"'He was behind everybody,' pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. 'When you are behind, the pitch count gets high, the count runs deep. To me, he didn't pitch today. He was working way behind in the count.'"

Washington Post baseball writer Barry Svrluga in his most recent "Nationals Journal" post, "Your chance to blog -- about the ballpark", predicts :

"I believe, however, that might be the last time we see O'Connor pitch in a major league game down here.

...and Mr. Svrluga provides the reasoning behind his assertion, writing:

"...(Jason) Bergmann is scheduled to throw on Wednesday's off day (in a minor league game), and Chico has been moved. Tim Redding pitches tomorrow. Odalis Perez Thursday. John Patterson again Friday. You see where I'm heading with this?"

Apparently Mr. Svrluga doesn' think O'Connor's earned a spot in the Nationals' starting rotation...Mr. Svrluga gaves his predictions for all of the Nationals' starters this morning, in a post entitled, "Official Beat Writer Roster Predition(sic) Post."

GAME NOTES

Ryan Zimmerman returned from his right hip flexor and went 2 for 4 today with an RBI, Zimmerman's 8th this Spring, to go with his .360 AVG in 25 at bats. Dmitri Young was 1 for 3 with a run scored. Luis Ayala gave up just 1 hit in a scoreless inning of relief. The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch gave up his first runs of the Spring, 2 of them, 1 earned, on 2 hits and a walk in 1.0 IP which raised his ERA to 1.50 in 6.0 innings on the mound, followed by Chad Cordero, who came on to pitch a perfect ninth, Cordero's sixth scoreless frame this Spring.

Tomorrow the Nationals get the ESPN treatment for their game against the Detroit Tigers. Tim Redding vs Jeremy Bonderman. 1:05 PM EST...

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