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The Clock Strikes Midnight for Jose Lima

Mike SteffanosFriday, July 7, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Marlins 7 - Mets 3

It would seem that Jose Lima has sealed his fate with the Mets after failing to get an out in the fourth inning and surrendering all 7 of Florida's runs tonight. Giving up a grand slam home run to the opposing pitcher -- even an accomplished hitter like Willis -- is the type of thing that should serve as a wakeup call to Lima that his major league career is behind him. Let's just sincerely hope that at least GM Omar Minaya has received that message loud and clear. We saw way too much of Kaz Ishii last season, and he actually pitched a good game every 5 or 6 times out. All we have to show for Jose Lima's tenure in Queens is 4 dismal losses.

Update: Jose Lima has been designated for assignment in order to make room for Mike Pelfrey.

No point in recapping this one, let's just jump to some thoughts and put it behind us.

Thoughts on the game
I've never been in favor of giving Darren Oliver a start. I felt that if Oliver is moved into the rotation, it would overexpose him and he would revert to the pitcher with a lifetime ERA close to 5 he was coming into this season. Moreover, I like him in the role he fills now; he's done a terrific job as a long man. Having said that, I now admit that it might be time to take a look at him as a starter. He can't be any worse than the flotsam and jetsam that has floated through the rotation this season, and the long man should be the easiest man in the bullpen to replace.

Henry Owens came into the game in the ninth inning and looked very nervous. He overthrew every slider he tried, not getting a single one close to the strike zone. Yet he pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout, showing an electric fastball that he did command for the most part. I want to see him again, he looks like he can succeed up here, particularly when he relaxes and starts throwing that slider for strikes. Maybe it's not farfetched to think that he can replace Heilman and we can try him in the rotation. Leave Oliver as long guy where he's been thriving, and he can pick up the slack while Heilman is building up stamina as a starter. Either of the options I have just stated is preferable to throwing another game away with a starter like Lima.

I didn't love the way the Mets played tonight, and I won't make any excuses for them, but it has to take it's toll watching a guy like Lima putting the team in a deep hole right off the bat. They need to suck it up and play better, because they have 2 kids pitching for them tomorrow. I know the Marlins think they have a good chance of making up some ground this weekend, and the Mets have to overcome the pitching handicap and keep that from happening. That's what winning teams do.

To make matters worse, we learn that Jose Reyes will not play again before the All-Star break after receiving 7 stitches in the little finger of his left hand. If you missed the game, he was injured trying to beat former Met Mike Jacobs to the first base bag sliding head first. Jacobs spiked him sliding into the bag for the putout.

This posting is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.

If you missed them, there are good articles on Mets.com about Mike Pelfrey and Aaron Heilman.

Hasta mañana.

Box Score

Comments (6)

I am getting tired of saying goodbye to Lima. This has to be the last time, right?... Reyes sits out this weekend, OUCH. I like the way he seems to get things going,that's a void hard to fill. This is going to be a good test for this team, to see if they can rally together and overcome these trying times. We need this allstar break just to relax and come together again as a team.

I sure hope this is the last time, because it's like watching a train wreck, Rev.

Gosh, don't you think the Mets ought to give Lima another chance? After all, the man once won 20 games!

(A pause while I spit the taste of that comment out of my mouth.)

Certain Mets have been reminding me of other past players lately. Steve Trachsel, he's been calling to mind Al Leiter in his last two Mets seasons: both pitchers had definitely lost something, both fighting war of attrition against the inevitable; and both managing to eke out some wins on gile and guts. Leiter started out with more stuff, and he managed to fool them for longer than I expect Steve to succeed.

And Elvis Aaron Heilman has been bringing a lot of guys to mind for me. Namely pitchers such as Bob Welsch, Dave Stewart, Ron Darling, Storm Davis, even Bobby Witt -- guys, in other words, who possessed good arms but who weren't getting the outs and the wins for their teams, to the point that they landed on the reclaimation heap in Oakland, to have Dave Duncan and LaRussa breathe new life into their careers.

I can see that sort of future playing out for Heilman, in some other city of course. What I wonder is who would be the pitching coach to perform the magic? Mazone and Duncan are both still around, but one gets the impression that neither is quite the wizard he once was; and we have Rick Peterson, who certainly arrived with the hype; he may be a good coach but he's no Svengali of the rosin bag.

I wonder who the next Big Deal pitching coach will be? Who will win next year's Johnny Sain Award?

dd, I never put a lot of faith into pitching coaches "fixing" guys. I think the Mets management hyped Peterson when he first came over because they needed to convince the fans things were going to change. I really do think Peterson has done a fine job with the Mets, when you look at things realistically.

The one thing I'd say about Heilman is that he might be experiencing a little bit of something akin to a sophomore jinx. I know it wasn't technically his rookie year last year, but it was close to that, considering. If he continues to struggle as a reliever, I'd like them to take another look at him as a starter. Some people are just better suited mentally to certain roles. Maybe that's the case here. He was a reliever for part of last year, but has been a starter the whole rest of his career.

He gave up....a grand slam....TO THE PITCHER?????

I know D-Train is better with the stick than most other hurlers. But damn, that was terrible.

For those old enough to remember Li'l Abner, Jose Lima reminds me of Joe Btfsplk.

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