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Hitting Malaise

Despite his final line, there was a lot to like about Oliver Perez's performance tonight in Florida. Early on, his fastball looked a bit flat. He was grooving it over the plate and, despite their inexperience, one thing the Marlins hitters can do is jump on meaty fastballs. Perez's slider was diving all game, however, and he got the bite back on his fastball after the third inning and wound up striking out eleven batters in five innings of work.

Barring an injury or two, there is little chance that Perez will be added to the playoff roster for any series this year. Yet, Perez has shown enough to encourage the Mets to give him a shot to crack the rotation in 2007. Perez has only thrown around 150 innings between AAA and the big leagues, so there's a possibility the Mets might ask him to play in the Arizona Fall League or possibly some winter ball in Mexico, where Perez is from originally. There's plenty to work with, but he needs a bit of refinement before he could be counted on consistently to not be terrible.

More than we can say for Steve Trachsel.

In other news, the Mets' bats have gone cold, having managed very little in the way of offense during the month of September (last night's eighth and ninth innings notwithstanding). Here are their monthly team batting lines, not including last night's action:

Month        AVG   OBP   SLG  K/AB
April       .268  .329  .448  .182
May         .253  .332  .433  .191
June        .273  .332  .487  .195
July        .275  .352  .463  .204
August      .272  .342  .452  .191
September   .221  .282  .388  .215
This month, the Mets are hitting like a team full of Willy Taverases, minus the long hitting streak. Looking a little closer, here's how the regulars have done:
Player             AVG   OBP   SLG
Jose Reyes        .289  .341  .553
Paul Lo Duca      .161  .161  .194
Carlos Beltran    .238  .429  .429
Carlos Delgado    .229  .289  .514
David Wright      .462  .531  .654
Cliff Floyd       .150  .143  .350
Shawn Green       .333  .353  .636
Jose Valentin     .233  .258  .433
I have to admit that I began writing this piece when the Mets were trailing 4-1 tonight with little hope for a comeback and I had to scuttle and change some of the names and faces as the Mets mounted and executed a successful come-from-behind victory. I'm not particularly concerned about the lineup in general, though specific players may be more of a concern than others.

Reyes, Wright and Green are doing just fine. The rest of the lineup has hit the skids this month. For Lo Duca, this could be his typical late-season swoon. After all, despite being a .288/.340/.416 career hitter, he has batted just .220/.277/.327 in Septembers. Of course, that shabby line would still represent an upgrade over this year's September performance.

Floyd, well, his bat better wake up soon or he might actually miss October. Aside from hot stretches in May and July, Floyd has been dreadful at the plate this season. Add in the return of the old Cliff Floyd (i.e. the injured one) and you're talking about a guy that it's tough to justify giving at-bat to when Endy Chavez has done everything right this season. Chavez will be on the postseason roster. I think Floyd will be, too, but one of them is a little more deserving than the other. It pains me to say that, because I really, really like Cliff Floyd.

Related links...
- Decisions (Jeremy Heit)