Mike Pelfrey‘s FIP has actually stayed pretty steady over the last four years, and his xFIP was even steadier. The main difference being that he game up less home runs in 2008 and 2010. So the question becomes what was it that caused the home run rate to be lower in those years? Was it dumb luck, or some adjustments on Pelfrey’s part? Personally I think his xFIP staying the same is precisely what’s wrong with the stat. Pelfrey clearly pitched better in 2010, particularly in the first part of the year, than he has since.
There probably still is some luck to it. The margin of error for flying out instead of hitting a home run is tiny. Optimistically, Mike Pelfrey’s numbers in 2011 were probably at the far end of bad luck and it’d be pretty easy to see how even with changing almost nothing he’d probably have a better result in 2012. Hoping for lucky bounces is not a good philosophy for a major league pitch to adopt however.
Pelfrey is working hard this Spring at his sinker. This is something he admittedly struggled with in 2011, and harnessing it against should be a positive. For one, it’s a different look than teams are used to. Adding in a pitch provides a new wrinkle to the scouting report and helps keep hitters off balance. Additionally, sinkers are harder to hit out of the park as they are harder to hit in the air. So far the reports are positive on his feel for the pitch.
With luck and the sinker, Mike Pelfrey should be an improved pitcher again in 2012. Throw in a likely improved bullpen and more of Pelfrey’s games should turn into Mets wins. That only happened 12 of 33 times last season.
I’d be shocked of Angel Pagan and Mike Pelfrey are not given contracts this season. They’re both due raises via arbitration, and the raises they get could possibly push the money they make beyond the value they’re likely to provide. Of course, it’s very hard to form a direct relationship between money and performance. Ultimately it’s about getting the most value, not the best price for that value.
Mike Pelfrey and Scott Boras agreed to a 3.925 million dollar contract last year. It’d be pretty hard for them to argue for much more than that in arbitration off this year. I could see them settling for a similar value, which is not the six million dollar figure some are talking about. Four million is a pretty reasonable amount, and it’s also a very tradeable contract if the Mets were able to find something better or they had a prospect knocking on the door in May.
Mike Pelfrey has not had a very good season, but he’s also not had a horrible one and has pitched on his turn every time and accumulated 200 innings. Most teams don’t have five guys that do that, which is where Pelfrey’s value comes in. All in all Pelfrey’s peripheral stats look very similar to his stats from last year, and his stats from the year before that. A new pitching coach may help some, specifically with working on his sinker again, but it’s probably a safe bet to expect Pelfrey’s numbers in 2012 to be somewhere between 2010 and 2011. I believe that has value, not as an ace but as a contributing member of a rotation.
I trust Mike Pelfrey to work hard this offseason and in Spring Training to do what he can do to get better. He may not be worth the full value of what he’ll get paid, but he’ll provide the team with innings and consistency. A lot of teams would snap him up if the Mets released him, and that’s yet another reason he’ll be offered a contract. Someone will be willing to give the Mets a player in return for Pelfrey, were the Mets to look to trade him this offseason, in Spring Training, or early in the season. Pitchers are always getting hurt, and reliable starters are always a commodity. Having more than you need, even if one’s a little more expensive, is being able to deal from a position of strength.
There are good things to be inferred by the Pelfrey as closer talk. Him actually pitching as a closer is a bad idea; you can’t replace those 200 innings he pitches and the closer position is extremely overrated. Still, it’s good to see the Mets trying to think of solutions to make this team better in 2012. Many of the thoughts will be bad ones like this, but some of them may turn out to be great ideas that help the Mets become more competitive in the future. It’s nice to have guys in charge trying to come up with each and every way to make the Mets a better baseball team.
The Mets came inches away from their third straight shut out as Teixeira’s home run just missed Beltran’s glove. In fact, that would’ve been an easy fly out in every other ballpark in the majors.
Now the Mets are back at .5oo and 22-22 on the season. They played poorly early on, but despite injuries have really settled down. They’ve suddenly got a very potent bullpen. That’s not an exaggeration either, their bullpen has been as good as you could want for quite a while now. Beato’s back to try to continue his scoreless inning streak. Jason Isringhausen, if they considered relievers for the award, would be on his way to comeback player of the year. Francisco Rodriguez remains one of the best closers in the game, and may actually be the best this year.
The bullpen is meaningless if the starters are going to let games get away, but they haven’t been doing that. The starters have been keeping them in games. The offense is crippled without David Wright, Angel Pagan and Ike Davis, but if they can continue to play the way they’ve been playing they’ll find themselves in a very favorable position as those guys trickle back into the lineup.
Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson both deserve some credit for what’s gone on. Collins has this team focused and playing good baseball, and Alderson hasn’t been shy to shuffle the roster around and reward guys that deserve playing time; like Justin Turner.
I said yesterday I like the way the Mets match up this weekend, and I stand by that. The Mets can hit Burnett tonight and Pelfrey is a better pitcher than Ivan Nova. Another series win, and perhaps a sweep, is within the Mets grasp.
Tags: .500, a j burnett, ivan nova, Mets, mets offense, Mike Pelfrey, new york, new york baseball, New York Mets, new york subway series, New York Yankees, series win, Subway Series, subway series 2011, winning streak, Yankees
Don’t believe everything you hear: The New York Mets can compete for a division title this season.
The starting rotation for the Mets this year looks to be Mike Pelfrey, Jonathan Niese, R.A. Dickey, Chris Young, and Chris Capuano. Those five are better than a lot of people give then credit for, but let’s start with the returning Mets from last year.
Mike Pelfrey had a good year last year, and it’s not unreasonable to think he can have a comparable one. He had one really bad month that he’ll need to avoid and work through, and hopefully another year of experience can help him do that. He was one of the best pitchers in the game through April last year, and while he probably won’t be quite _that_ good again, if you balance it against him not being as bad as he was in July, the overall performance can probably be similar to what we see in the table above. I think there is some hope that he can cut down on the walks and hits a little bit and maybe get better, but that remains to be seen.
R. A. Dickey
R.A. Dickey came out of nowhere last season to have one of the best years in the league. In fact his numbers are better than all of the pitchers on the Phillies sans Halladay, so all the talk of the Phillies having four aces and the Mets having none is a little silly. The biggest question regarding Dickey is if last season was a one time deal. Sandy Alderson doesn’t think so, and he gave Dickey a two year contract to prove it, and I don’t think so either. It’s non unheard of for pitchers that utilize the knuckleball to suddenly find success later in their careers as Dickey has done. Dickey has proven to be a very intelligent pitcher and really understands what’s going on on the mound. He throws two knuckleballs and is able to change speeds with it. His fastball isn’t even completely washed up, so when he does throw one, it reaches the mid 80s in velocity and doesn’t need just trickery to get past the hitter. He was able to sustain success throughout the entire season last year, including multiple appearances against the same teams. Also, his walk rate was surprisingly low for a knucklerballer. Pitching to a 2.84 ERA might be a bit lofty, but he was also victimized by poor run support. Perhaps a more potent offense gets the Mets more wins even if Dickey’s ERA rises slightly.
Jonathan Niese is entering his second full season with the Mets, after a surprisingly good rookie year. He hit a wall late in September, something he vows not to do in 2011. He threw two complete games, and had a very nice 7.7 K/9 rate. He really showed good command with his curveball, something you know no opponents are looking forward to facing. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some improvement from Niese as he’s still a young pitcher learning and adjusting. You’d like to see him give up a few less hits and walks overall, while utilizing his pitches to get more strikeouts. He got 148 last year, and with a little improvement through a full season, he’s a guy that could reach 200.
Chris Young has been injured a lot, but as you can see from his career line he’s a pretty good pitcher when he’s healthy. The key is making sure he stays healthy, and can give the Mets numbers approximating his career line. All indications out of Spring Training are that he is healthy and pitching well. If that means strengthening the pen so you don’t over-stress Young’s arm, or occasionally giving him extra rest, then the Mets should do it. Young starts to make this rotation look pretty deep, and while he’s not going to overwhelm or blow anybody away, he gets the job done and induces a lot of weak contact. Other options loom the longer we can keep him healthy, even if he doesn’t make it all season. Johan Santana could return, Dillon Gee or another prospect or Buffalo starter could be throwing the ball really well and deserve a promotion.
Chris Capuano is not quite as impressive as Chris Young, but he’s got the benefit of having pitched enough last year to be over the “Is he healthy?” hump. If he does make the rotation I’m happy with his ability to contribute to winning games, and I’d certainly take a healthy Capuano over most of the 5th best starters other teams are using. In 66 innings last year, in the bullpen and the rotation, Capuano’s numbers were right around his career norms. I’m hopeful with those 66 innings under his ‘new’ belt that he can get comfortable and have a quality year. He’s healthy now, and maybe the lack of pitching of the last couple of years will actually mean his arm is fully healed and hasn’t been worn down by season after season of pitching strain. Despite Chris Young probably being a better pitcher, I’m more confident that Capuano can stay on the field all season and win games for the New York Mets.
Injuries and Depth
I’m not going to pretend that the Mets have a ton of depth to replace these guys if things go wrong. Certainly if the Mets rotation misses more than a handful of starts here and there, there could be problems. Pat Misch could be an emergency starter, but he’s league average at best. Maybe Dillon Gee or another minor league prospect can come up and contribute if they’re forced into it, and maybe someone emerges later in the season if someone gets hurt. There will be at least five starters in Buffalo, and presumably someone will warrant promotion at some point.
Then there is Johan Santana. You would have to to think removing Santana from the rotation and adding Chris Capuano would be a net loss of games for the Mets, but it’s never as clear cut as that. Actually, the Mets lost a lot of Santana’s games last year by scoring no runs when he gave up merely one. If the Mets are hitting, couldn’t they win more games than that even if Capuano gives up three? It’s perhaps unrealistic to expect Santana, coming off a anterior capsule tear, to contribute anything this year, but it’s not wrong to hope and wonder if he can return around the All-Star break and get stronger as the season reaches it’s conclusion. All baseball seasons are full of uncertainty and risk, and while it’s certainly a risk that one of the Mets pitchers could injure themselves and hurt the Mets chances, there’s also the possibility that Santana returns and contributes down the stretch.
So as it stands right now, the Mets rotation looks pretty solid from top to bottom and is full of pitchers with talent and ability. They should keep the Mets in the game, and create opportunities for them to win those games with some offense. The diversity of the staff plays into things as well; You’ve got a knuckleball, a curveball, a sinkerball, and two control pitchers. That’s a lot of prep work for opposing lineups to do to try to keep on top of all the different looks they’ll see when they face the Mets.
Tags: 2011, 2011 pitching, capuano, chris capuano, chris young, dickey, jon niese, jonathan niese, Mets, mets 2011 rotation, Mets can win, mets pitching, mets rotation, mets starting rotation, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, new york mets pitching, new york mets rotation, niese, nl ease, NL East, nl east division winner, nl east race, pelfrey, r a dickey, ra dickey, who will win the NL east in 2011?, why the mets can compete, why the mets can compete in 2011, young
I stumbled across this extremely negative post on the Mets through some Google alerts. At first I thought it would end up being a Philly blog, but nope. So here’s his five reasons why the Mets will suck post is way off the mark.
Spring training games began over the weekend, reminding us all how terrible the Mets will be this year. Fittingly, Luis Castillo booted a ball at second base yesterday. Way to set the tone for the new season, Luis.
Here are my top 5 reasons why the Mets will be terrible this year.
Yes, I’m sure Castillo booting a ball in practice just doomed the Mets all season. Real players never actually make mistakes in Spring Training. Nevermind that Scott Hairston hit two home runs. This is just an excuse to pick on Castillo, who might not even make the team.
5- Ownership: Between borrowing $25 million from Major League Baseball, looking for minority ownership, and facing a multi-million dollar law suit, it will be a distraction all season. If the Wilpons sell the team, maybe it will make them less terrible, but still not good.
I can’t tell you that the Madoff stuff is a positive in any way, but it’s hardly going to be a distraction that causes the Mets to fail. Wright’s not going to be worrying about the state of the lawsuit while he’s standing out at third base or at the plate. They won’t even have to talk about it with the press, they’ve all said what they can say and their business is not finance, it’s baseball. The state of the finances is not going to have much of an effect on the play on the field. The only real thing it might do is prevent Alderson from adding pieces around the trade deadline, but so far there is no word that it will.
4- Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez: It’s March 1, and for some reason they are still on the team. Perez got bombed in his first spring training game and Castillo is abysmal. Sadly he could actually win the starting second base position. It is unbelievable the Mets do not have anyone better than Castillo. Please cut your losses. I would rather have Ike Davis play first and second at the same time.
They’re on the team because they can’t lose the Mets games in March. Whether or not they make the team will solely be based on merit, and it’s not looking good for either of them. The players that help the Mets win will make the team, and therefore these two players will not be why they suck. Reyes and Davis do have pretty good range, but I don’t think it’s enough to cover second base too. Plus, the rules don’t allow for only eight players in the lineup.
3- Carlos Beltran playing right field: How long until he complains about it? I give it a month. Just imagine if he gets off to a bad start on offense. I know what the excuse will be.
#blamebeltran. This pretty much debunks the whole post right here doesn’t it? Never mind that he voluntarily moved there or that he’s not a complainer or an excuse maker. A more valid question is how much regular rest is he going to need, and how well do those knees hold up? Still, he’s been taking batting practice, and he should be ready to go as a hitter. This should help prevent a slow start offensively at least. Carlos Beltran continues to be underappreciated.
2- The NL East: The Phillies are probably the best team in baseball, which is not even fair, but the Braves and Marlins are better than last year too. The Mets are closer to the Nationals.
Just stating it doesn’t make it so. Probably? What if they’re not? What if someone gets hurt? Their offense no longer looks formidable, Utley hasn’t even played yet and it’s looking more and more likely that Wilson Valdez may be starting for them, and they don’t even know what scrub or under-prepared prospect they’re going to throw out there in right field. What if they don’t score runs when they pitch these great games, and what if age catches up with them? The Marlins are not very good. They’ve got some pitching, but it’s hardly amazing and they’re fielding a AAA offense outside of a couple of guys. The Mets are capable of being in the thick of things just with their offense and with Pelfrey, Dickey and Niese doing what they did last year.
1- The Pitching Staff: With Johan out until God knows when, Mike Pelfrey is the ace of the staff. Enough said. The Mets are depending on RA Dickey to repeat what he did last season, which is insane. I can’t even tell you who the 4th and 5th starters are: Chris Young?, Chris Capuano?, Dilon Gee? Oliver Perez??? Who the hell knows. As for the bullpen, talk about a disaster. Hopefully K-Rod won’t get arrested again or injure himself while beating up an old man. I honestly can’t even tell you who else is in the bullpen, so I have no further comments.
Enough said? Sure, I could agree with that. Mike Pelfrey was basically the best pitcher in baseball last April. He had a horrible July, and it’s important that he minimizes that this year, but to dismiss him as crap is silly. Why is it insane to expect Dickey to be as good as last year? Did you really watch him all last year, and listen to him talk about pitching, and deduce that it was a fluke? It wasn’t. He’s learned and adapted, and crafted his knuckleball to be a dangerous weapon. It’s certainly possible he’s not as good, but the dropoff won’t be that extreme. The ignorance in the rest of this ‘reason’ is too large to argue with, but I do have faith that some combination of Young and Capuano can give us some quality innings and keep the Mets in the game. Losing Santana is rough, but given how many of his great games they let turn into losses last year, I’m confident with a little hitting the Mets can win more games that a lesser pitcher starts than they did last year with Santana on the mound.
I do have something good for Mets fans to look forward to. On Tuesday night (After the Knicks game) MSG will have a 4 part series on the ’86 Mets. Bar fights, sex, drugs, alcohol and more sex, drugs and alcohol- the good old days. Should be interesting. I guarantee it will be better than anything the Mets do on the field.
I’ll grant a pass on this statement since it was written before hand, but most accounts I’ve seen of the show have been pretty negative. You can take your ‘guarantee’ and shove it, the Mets are going to be interesting this year. Optimism is not a sin.
Tags: #blamebeltran, Baseball, blame beltran, bloggers, can the mets play without a second baseman, Carlos Beltran, chase utley, chase utley's knee, David Wright, debunking pessimism, dickey, finances, hitting, Luis Castillo, madoff, Mets, mets finances, mets madoff, mets pitching, mets rotation, mets second base, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, optimism, optimism is not a sin, optimistic, pessimism, pessimistic mets, Philadelphia Phillies, phillies hitting, phillies suck, Pitching, r a dickey, ra dickey
This Mets team can be pretty scary. I certainly thought they had a chance to be very competitive coming into this year, but it would’ve been hard for anyone to predict it would evolve the way it did. The team may be the team you’d least want to face in the National League, because you never know what you’re going to get from them, they can hit you from all angles. People talk about Philadelphia’s offense being scary, but when you get down to it the Phillies are a team built on offense; if you pitch well against them you can win any of the games.
The Mets can baffle a team’s offense on any day. It could happen via R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball dancing towards the plate, or it could happen with Pelfrey’s dominate sinking fastball. The next day Jon Niese could unleash his curveball, or Johan Santana could be on the mound with his two Cy Young awards. The bullpen has also been very good, regularly racking up scoreless innings. They’ve got some hard throwers, some specialists, and Frankie Rodriguez.
Offensively the Mets have the talent to beat a team in a couple of ways. They’re capable of hitting big home runs one day, and the next day battering pitching to a tune of 14 runs without a long ball. They’re aggressive, steal bases, take extra bases on base hits, capitalize on errors and play hard. They’re capable of coming back from deficits, don’t quit until the game is over, and even if a starting pitcher is shutting them down, they’re capable of waking up against a reliever and winning a game.
They seem to have the right mixture of confidence and cockiness, and all reports suggest they have great clubhouse chemistry. (Winning will do that) Even if they don’t make a trade, it looks like they’ll be getting Carlos Beltran back to the lineup which would be about as big a mid-season acquisition as you can find. They’re already in prime playoff position, and they’ve got plenty of guys looking to have a better second half including Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, and Jose Reyes. This is a team to look out for, and it’s looking like the final series before the All-Star break against the Braves is going to be a big one.
Tags: Baseball, bullpen, good teams, great teams, Home Runs, Johan Santana, jon niese, Mets, mets are scary, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, NL East, offense, phillies suck, Pitching, r a dickey, scary mets, starting pitching, winning, winning baseball
I wonder how people back before pitch counts and speed guns were able to tell when their ace pitchers were in decline?
Statistical analysis and all the technology of present day definitely enhance the game and our understanding of it, but they also allow us to jump to premature conclusions.
I was in Baltimore over the weekend and I was listening to the post game show after the Saturday game when the Orioles announcers described the next day’s pitching matchup as “Pelfrey, the Mets ace.” There wasn’t a pause. It wasn’t qualified by “this year.”
Santana came out this spring and proclaimed himself (when asked to name someone) the best pitcher in the NL East. So is he a washed up ace trending downward and not even the best pitcher on his own team?
I’d say no. Of course Pelfrey has been the better pitcher this year so far, but Santana is far from over the hill and washed up. Actually Santana has a slightly higher ERA, but they have almost identical WHIPs and Ks. The different result is mainly due to run support, and Pelfrey’s pitches trending more towards ground balls. It just seems so different because Santana is a Cy Young caliber pitcher and Pelfrey has been a struggling prospect prior to this point.
The case can be made that Santana is merely slumping, not declining. For one he’s always been a second-half pitcher. He had surgery last year and had a longer than normal layoff between his last start of 2009 and his first of 2010. There’s something to be said for building arm strength over a couple of months, and surgery and time off sap that. You can already see that the velocity is starting to come back up a little bit. Pitching is a game of adjustments, and right now Santana is having some trouble with control of his pitches. This is leading to more walks and less strikeouts. Santana’s track record says that he’s a smart guy and knows what he’s doing out there. You have to trust that he can make the adjustments needed, and that he’ll be able to do it faster than batters can adjust to him.
The Mets are fighting for first place and arguably Santana is only going to get better. He’s a big game pitcher, a fighter, and a great ace of this staff to have. As his game rounds into form, the weather heats up and he builds up arm strength as the Mets march towards October all worries about him being in decline will vanish and we’ll be talking about the Mets having as good a 1-2 punch as anyone else in baseball.
Pitching wins. That’s the common refrain around baseball, and there is a lot of truth to it. So while many Mets fans may have been upset that the Mets offense is struggling, even against position players in a 20 inning game, I’m ecstatic that the pitching has been so good. It’s too early to tell for sure on the starters. Some velocity numbers seem suspect, but static numbers do not tell you everything. Pitch counts, and pitch speeds, are something that many managers and baseball experts are still working on. 20 years ago these things were barely more important than who won the airplane race. (On a side note, I kinda miss the airplane race. It was so perfect for the Mets, since Jets from LaGuardia fly over constantly.) Let’s give some guys a couple of starts to build up arm strength and get the early season jitters out of the way before we judge what they’re capable of for the season.
If the pitching is going to be this good, the Mets are going to rise to great heights. Santana is going to win games; I really don’t think there is anything to worry about with him. He’s had a little less velocity than we would like so far, but he’s also fresh back from surgery, and a slow starter. He did get up to 92 by the end of his appearance Saturday, and I hope it’s just a matter of getting his arm strength up to mid-season form. You could probably say the same thing about Oliver Perez, who looked masterful the night before. Perez mixed and matched pitches and location and speeds like a pro. Like Santana. He was _nothing_ like the Ollie we know. He wasn’t good Ollie, or bad Ollie. He was just a pitcher doing his thing. There wasn’t wildness, or getting unfocused. He was pitching, not throwing, as the adage goes.
There’s not enough to say about Pelfrey. He’s amazing. He leads the team in ERA, in wins, even in saves! He threw a masterful game in the low-oxygen Colorado game, threw a bullpen early Saturday and then still demanded the ball from Manuel in the 20th inning for the save on Satuday. If there’s anybody on the team you’re ready to say “Throw out 2009, it’s 2010 now and that’s what counts” with, it’s Pelfrey.
Now, the offense hasn’t been great. However, the offense is also underperforming. Bay, Pagan, Castillo, Reyes are all better players than they’ve played so far, and there is little reason to think they won’t get better. That will win games. They’re 4-7 right now and once the offense clicks they could easily rattle off a winning streak. Once we get Murphy back, or Murphy comes back and doesn’t improve and Ike shows up, the offense will get a boost as well. Like Murphy or not, he’s not the automatic strikeout that Jacobs is.
A lot hinges on tonight. Every other pitcher has shown that they’re going to put up some good games this year. Even Niese’s quality start is perfectly acceptable out of the 5th guy. Maine is the only holdout, and after scrapping the changes that didn’t work this spring, he’ll revert to what’s given him success in the past. It might be too soon to expect him to have that nailed down and for him to pitch a gem, but a competitive game over six innings or so that gives the Mets ample opportunity to win the game would be a great start.
The offense will work itself out, but if the pitching can do what it’s started to show it can do, this 4-7 record will be a mere slow start in a great season.
I understand the season has been hurtful so far. I also understand that even the worst teams in baseball don’t play this badly, and that they will win more games. So how do we shake this feeling of doom?
I’m pretty confident in Pelfrey throwing a good game tonight. I think what he worked on this Spring is going to help a lot, he’s getting less distracted on the mound, and has that cocky confidence that this team needs.
You never know with Perez, and I worry that the stupid tinkering that Warthen did with Maine was also a failure for Perez, but I think the Mets will have a chance to win the game tomorrow when he pitches.
Santana is due to bounce back and win one on Saturday. He’s Johan Santana after all.
Then Maine, who I think gets a huge boost being out from under Warthen’s shackles. Doesn’t mean he’ll be successful though, especially the first time going back to what’s worked for him, but the numbers are there if you choose to believe. (those numbers being a 4-1 2.75 ERA May last year before surgery in June. Those numbers being that he was hitting 93 last year, and was 91-92 in the return from surgery in September) I’m hoping being able to be comfortable will be like a weight off his shoulder and he’ll do just fine. I’m certainly not ready to believe Maine’s career is over.
Maybe they drop one of those, which would put them at 5-7. Then they go home for a 10 game home stand where if they go 6-4 they’re back at .500 and go to Philadelphia, a park the Mets love to hit in with hopefully the offense finally clicking, and knock the ball, and 2009, out of the park.
That’s the formula to shake these bad feelings away. If the Mets can get to Philadelphia near .500 and play well there against an injured Phillies team and assert, even if it’s just for one series, that they’re the better team it will go a long way to returning the confidence to this team, and to it’s fans.
Tags: attitude, Baseball, Confidence, dan warthen, fire manuel, fire warthen, Johan Santana, John Maine, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, mop, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, optimism, phillies suck, recipe for success, ya gotta believe