Oliver Perez as a 'lefty-on-lefty specialist' might actually work

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Jerry Manuel said yesterday that when Oliver Perez returns from the disabled list–possibly as soon as this week–the Mets plan to use him as a situation left-handed reliever. Or as Manuel phrased it, a “lefty-on-lefty specialist.”
Setting aside the unpleasant thought of paying someone $12 million per season to fill such a limited role, I actually think Perez could be a pretty good fit if spotted primarily against left-handed hitters (and in low-leverage situations, at least initially).
Obviously throwing strikes is crucial in any role and that makes Perez a big question mark regardless of how the Mets deploy him, but he held left-handed hitters to a .185 batting average even while struggling overall this season and from 2007-2009 lefties hit just .183 with a .268 on-base percentage and .304 slugging percentage in 450 plate appearances versus Perez.

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.