Though Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan hardly covered themselves in glory during the Mets’ 13-1 drubbing at the hands of the Pirates Wednesday afternoon, New York starter Oliver Perez (the box score says 5 walks but it felt like a hundred) is taking the bulk of the criticism today, much of it, funnily enough, from self-appointed club spokesman, Billy Wagner. From the Journal News’ Brian Heyman :
Billy Wagner didn’t close the game, just the month by indicting his teammates’ lack of desire on this day and brushing back Perez in particular.
“It’s very easy to say, ‘Hey, yeah, you’re going to have these games,’ and you will have these games,” Wagner said. “But when there’s not a lot of effort and a lot of desire, that’s when you worry.
“I just think that today we just didn’t show up. I’m not saying that Pittsburgh can’t beat the New York Mets. I’m just saying there’s no way we should have this lopsided of a score. … We weren’t good at defense. We weren’t good at pitching. There was no get up and go. That can’t happen.”
And about the starting pitcher …
“Perez has honestly got to step up and know that we’ve just used every guy in our bullpen the night before,” Wagner said. “He can’t come out there and decide that, gee, he hasn’t got it today and so be it.”
When Wagner’s words were relayed to Perez, the hot-and-cold, 2-2 lefty said, “I don’t have a problem with that. I didn’t do my job.”
While I can’t argue that Ollie didn’t (in the words of Marc Perlman) shit the bed yesterday, it’s a little curious that Wagner’s so mindful of the way the bullpen was taxed the previous evening. Had Brian Bixler not moved into scoring position during Tuesday’s 9th inning on a Wags wild pitch, later scoring on a Freddy Sanchez single served up by, err, Billy Wagner, not only would the Mets have won the game in 9 innings, but Jorge Sosa (who allowed an additional 5 runs Wednesday) wouldn’t have worked two days in a row.
Other than Tuesday’s blown save, Wagner’s been nearly perfect this season. But his pitching performances aside, I’m just impressed that he can also function as the manager, pitching coach and conscience of the clubhouse all at the same time. It doesn’t seem fair that Country Time is so multi-talented, yet he’s only being paid one salary.