By Mike Steffanos
Lima time seems to have finally ticked away for the 2006 Mets, and we fans are battered but still intact after surviving the experience. Lima may very well be the worst pitcher to ever start 4 games for the Mets; certainly he is right down there near the bottom of the barrel. What bothered me almost as much as the embarrassment the whole Lima experiment was to this franchise was the fact that I kind of liked Lima.
A couple of my colleagues pretty much summed up what is hopefully the final fizzle of the Lima experiment:
Do we think we have FINALLY learned our lesson concerning Jose Lima? Are four atrocious painful outings enough to give someone else a try?
Shari, Take the "7" Train
Willie went with an all right-handed batting order tonight in hope that it might be more effective against Dontrelle Willis, a south paw. Is it really necessary to strategize with Jose Lima pitching? Lima means you already lost.
Dan, LoneStar Mets
You know, it wasn't such a reach to hope for a resurrection from Lima coming into this year. Look what happened with Darren Oliver, a pitcher that I held in lower regard than Jose Lima going into the spring. There was never any harm in giving Lima one chance to find a pot of gold, it's just the second chance that annoys so many of us.
I understand that at 33 years old it's hard to come to terms with the fact that your career is probably over. Athletes live a backwards life where most of their greatest achievements come near the beginning. It's hard to realize that the vast majority of your life will be lived when you no longer able to do the one thing that makes you extraordinary. It's why guys like Lima try so hard to hang on and fail to see what is so clear to everyone else.
It's Omar's job to see this clearly, and not subject Mets fans to any more of this sad drama. You can bring up almost any reasonable minor-leaguer and he wouldn't pitch any worse than Lima has. Whatever happens to Mike Pelfrey and even John Maine today, at least we know 2 guys who look to be part of the future will gain some valuable experience. Perhaps there is another team out there that is desperate enough for pitching that they will give Jose Lima yet another shot. If so, good luck and good riddance. The fact that I liked Mr. Lima only made it harder. Let's start looking ahead.
Newark Star-Ledger: Mike Pelfrey
Lisa Kennelly profiles the kid making his debut today, including quotes from a couple of teammates:
Paul Lo Duca:
He had electric stuff. I think he could succeed at this level for a long time.
Pelfrey's a sinker-type of guy that throws in the high 90s. His slider is a very good pitch. His changeup is something he was working on -- in college, he was more of a two-pitch pitcher -- so they were trying to get him to work on his changeup a little bit. You could see it had signs it was going to get better and better.
He has the stuff to perform here, it's just how comfortable are you mentally when you get here. I think that's the biggest adjustment for everyone. ... You never know with a young player that's inexperienced, you just don't know what you're going to get.
The physical ability is there, it's being able to go out there and put that together every time you go out to pitch at this level that's the hardest part.
In the short amount of time I spent around him I was impressed with his attitude, his makeup. He was very diligent and trying to learn things and become better. He's a fun kid to be around.
New York Post: Henry Owens
Brian Lewis reports on the young, hard-throwing relief prospect who made his debut last night. Catcher Ramon Castro gives Lewis the scouting report on the kid:
He's got a nasty slider. He's going to be good for us. He comes out and goes right at people. His numbers don't lie. That means something.
If you missed the game, the numbers Castro was talking about was Owens' insane stat line for his work as a closer in Double-A Binghmaton:
23 Games, 25 IP, 8 H, 51 K, 8 BB, 1.08 ERA
The Sunday Paper: Should the Braves trade Larry?
If you think that things suck for Mets fans this weekend, have some sympathy for what the poor Braves fan is enduring. Tim Altork opines that it's time for the Bravos to ship out one of their icons:
... Chipper's decline has been steady and obvious over the past three seasons. He's 34 years old, his body is breaking down from the ground up, and he has decidedly entered the twilight of a great career. So why not consider moving him while he still has some value?
Altork makes an interesting point about how the Braves payroll is top-heavy with Larry and Mike Hampton's salaries eating up a lot it. What's really interesting is that Mike Hampton will be making around $15 per for 2007 and 2008. Colorado and Florida, whose combined stupidity wound up subsidizing a lot of Hampton's salary for the Braves from 2003 - 2005, are not picking up any of that. Atlanta will be paying ace money for 2 more years to a pitcher coming off major surgery and turning 34 at the start of the season in 2007.