The New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals today 3-0 behind RBI from David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy.

Murphy, making his first start at second base this Spring, finished the game 1-for-3 and looked good in the field. He didn’t commit an error but didn’t get an opportunity to turn a double play. Murphy is one of four players competing to win the job at second base.

Jose Reyes looked like he has his legs under him again. He was caught stealing once, but reached on a fielding error in the first inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by David Wright.

So, we got some answers from today’s game.  Murphy looked pretty good in the field and at the plate, and Reyes seems to be healthy and able to run at full speed.

But who cares about that stuff? Because Oliver Perez, making his second start of the spring, actually pitched well.

Now, maybe this is a sign of things to come, or maybe Perez is just delaying the inevitable, but, for now, we have to come away from this game with the idea that maybe Perez is making progress.

Mets fans everywhere must be fuming.

In his first start of the spring, Perez looked terrible, which is typical Perez, of course. In two innings of work, Perez gave up four runs, all earned, on four hits, three walks (all consecutive) and three strikeouts.

Today, against the Cardinals, Perez pitched two innings of shutout ball, surrendering just two hits and no earned runs.

The velocity still isn’t there, but Perez has to be pleased with today’s results, unlike Mets fans. Only a Mets fan can loathe a great start from one of their potential starting pitchers, especially considering how weak their starting rotation appears right now.

Most importantly, Perez didn’t walk a batter, which is certainly a step in the right direction. He didn’t strike anyone out either, and the wind was definitely keeping the ball in the park today. But manager Terry Collins said he was pleased by Perez’s results today.

Collins says he wants Perez to change speeds and challenge hitters. It’s difficult to “challenge” hitters when you can only hit 86 mph once or twice.

Prior to today’s start, there were rumors that, depending on the results, this could be Perez’s last chance. If he didn’t pitch well today, Perez may have been released, something most people assume may happen anyway.

Collins was quick to squash those rumors, saying he certainly saw more starts for Perez after today, and since he was able to pitch well today, that seems to be the case.

Perez is entering the final season of his four-year, $36 million contract.

If Mets fans woke up tomorrow morning to news of Perez’s release, it would elicit as much joy as a trade for Albert Pujols, maybe even more.

But, for now, this dance will continue.

Perez has pushed the sun back into the sky one more time and was able to right the ship, for one day at least.

Whether or not he can do it again is a big question. And if can beat out superior pitchers to earn a spot in the starting rotation is an entirely different issue.

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