Someone up there likes Oliver Perez. If you knew ahead of time that his return to the major leagues would feature seven walks and four hits in five innings, there would be a couple of predictable outcomes. The first is that the Mets would fall meekly to a fifth straight loss, and that was a more preferable outcome than the full-scale fan riot that seemed on tap during their 8-0 loss on Tuesday night.
But, again, someone up there likes Ollie. While two months off did very little for his pitching, it did an awful lot for his luck as he danced his way through the walks and the 53 balls in 108 pitches well enough to allow just two runs and give the surprisingly frisky Mets offense a chance to win the game. And because they won the game 5-4, it's easier to smile at the massive understatement Jerry Manuel made about Perez following the contest.
"There are still some things he needs to work on," Manuel said. "Obviously, command is one of them."
Command is all of them, but there's a better chance of Jenna Jameson winning an Oscar than there is of Perez turning into Greg Maddux so it's better to spend time worrying about things worth worrying about. On Wednesday night, that thing was Francisco Rodriguez's third poor outing in his last four.
It's probably just a rough patch for a guy who has been damn good all season, especially since he seems to enjoy life on the high wire with no net. That said, the psychic devastation of losing a game via a blown save right now would be enormous. K-Rod, Johan Santana and David Wright are the guys who need to keep the ship afloat if there's any chance of future sailing, and there's no question that when they stumble it hurts the Mets more than most of their garden variety struggles.