By Mike Steffanos
Cardinals 6 - Mets 3
I'm not going to talk much about this game. Frankly, watching it once was hard enough, and I have no desire to relive it. There wasn't a single aspect of this game where the Mets performed well, and the final score doesn't do justice to that fact.
The Mets playing a bad day game at the end of a road trip doesn't make me suicidal, but the news that Bannister re-tweaked his hammy in a rehab start and I'm likely to see Jose Lima pitch again for the Mets is rather depressing. If you didn't see the game, you will hear that Lima pitched decently, and deserved better. Unfortunately, that seems to be a recurring theme with this guy since spring training. To me, and I have watched all of his starts, any time Lima pitches it's only a matter of time before he gets lit up. He lacks the stuff to put batters away, and any pitch he makes a mistake with is likely to be hit hard. You keep hearing how close he is to pitching well, but all I see is a guy with an ERA just under 9 who struggles to give you 5 innings.
With Bannister's setback, and having heard nothing new about John Maine for a while, it looks like the Mets will continue to trot out Jose Lima for the near future. This is starting to show a disturbing parallel with the Kaz Ishii water torture from last season. The Mets seem committed to keeping Aaron Heilman in the bullpen to preserve leads that the Mets fourth and fifth starters (nor Trachsel, for the most part) are able to provide. They are resisting the urge to rush either Alay Soler or Mike Pelfrey, which is understandable.
I won't allow the first real poor streak of the year bury all of my optimism, but it's getting harder and harder to maintain optimism when anyone other than Pedro or Glavine starts. I appreciated the fact that Jeremi Gonzalez was aggressive last time out and threw strikes, but I'm not ready to join those who are prepared to anoint him as the fifth starter. Still, he ranks ahead of Lima from my point of view simply because he is not Jose Lima.
Jose Lima seems to be a good guy, and I wish him well, but he does not in any way resemble an effective major-league starting pitcher in my eyes. If the Mets want to give him a job in their organization I'm all for it. It just saddens me that it seems virtually inevitable that he will continue to be given starts. In any case, let's drop this fruitless discussion for now. I understand the Mets are not going to panic at this point, but I wish they would start seriously considering options that are less about being a sideshow and more about getting batters out.
The Mets return home to face Gotham's "other team" tomorrow night. Jeremi Gonzalez faces the Big Eunuch at 7:10 PM. Gonzalez' 5.40 ERA is only .27 runs higher than Johnson's.