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.