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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Time and Again

Having been granted my wish that Heath Bell be dismissed from the premises, I’ve been reminded to be careful what I wish for.

My reminder: Jose Lima has taken Heath Bell’s spot.

I really want to believe there’s nothing wrong with a second helping of Lima Time provided it is served by the thimbleful and at off hours. I assume this particular Jose (we sure have a lot of them) is on hand to be the seventh man in the bullpen and grab those innings that hopefully don’t need to be pitched, the ones that arise when our starters falter. Darren Oliver has been used a lot lately — if not enough to Pedro Feliciano’s way of thinking — and he could use a breather. If Lima gets the fourth and fifth in a 9-1 blowout…well, no biggie except I don’t want to be on the Lima-usin’ end of a 9-1 blowout.

The easy analogy to make is recalling Jose Lima is to inane pitching transactions what Gerald Williams was to fortifying outfield depth. What the fudge are we doing bringing up Jose Lima when we could instead use…uh…er…um…

…who do we have anyway?

Oh that’s right. We’re kinda screwed for pitching right now. If Pedro comes back Saturday (which is something I really want to believe), then things are pretty darn rosy. He pitches one game Saturday and John Maine, who went from hot to hapless in a matter of pitches Monday, gets the other. That’s not Lima Time. Reports indicate Mike Pelfrey, surely the greatest Mike P. we’ve had since Mike Piazza, will be up Friday night. That’s not Lima time. Barring whatever seems to befall Mets starters until then, we have Orlando Hernandez tonight (still can’t quite bring myself to spit out his nickname given its unfortunate association with the past) and Steve Trachsel tomorrow. Those are not Lima Times. Glavine goes Sunday. Finally, that’s not Lima Time.

Thus, if Jose Lima lingers for a few days as a long-relief stopgap, doesn’t get into more than a game or two when it’s not terribly crucial and then enjoys an extended All-Star break, I think we’ll get by. No, that’s not optimal thinking, but it’s the way it is after Bell and Soler proved themselves incapable of helping their team at all Sunday and Feliciano gave Willie every excuse to bury him (hope the manager’s a bigger man than that). If something goes wrong with Pedro, or Maine finds another finger that’s not quite right, and Lima takes the ball Saturday…well, he does have experience.

I would have been content to have never been party to the return of Lima Time, but I’ll admit I’m rooting for the guy to have one solid outing and not just because a guy in a Met uniform having a solid outing benefits us all. Both in spring training and during his last stay, Lima was a unifying force in the clubhouse. Everybody seemed to like him in a big way. Yeah, they said the same thing about Gerald Williams, but ya know what? This seems like a good time for a unifying force. For a team with a double-digit lead, its players have betrayed a touch of crabbiness. And who can blame them, with their record having loitered at convenience store level (7-11) since The Road Trip ended? If Lima can keep ’em loose for a few days, maybe that’s a contribution.

Not at the expense of effective pitching, mind you, but I don’t see a lot of obvious options otherwise. Pelfrey coming up is a separate issue and one we’ll all embrace if/when it happens. As for the ever popular Anybody But, I confess I’m not familiar with his stats or qualifications. Yeah, Anybody But Jose Lima sounds good, but maybe there are a few machinations at work that we or at least I don’t see. Maybe Lima — who is motivated enough to keep pitching at AAA after his Major League embarrassment in May, so he must have some pride in avenging his prior performance — hangs through Sunday and we see one of the other Tides roll in after the break. After being certain the deployment of Jose Valentin was complete folly, I’m not going to kneejerk any veteran player move Omar makes, certainly not one that isn’t likely to amount to a hill of beans in the long run.

6 comments to Time and Again

  • Anonymous

    Baseball is full of stupid trade rumors/suggestions. Well, speaking of Mike P., how 'bout these strokes of genius: Paul Lo Duca for Old Man Piazza and Carlos Delgado for that-other-Mike Jacobs. Tell me you don't see the glorious logic to it!
    With his three hits today, Piazza's batting .282 (.405 in his last 13 games). Eleven Homers, 34 RBI. Why is LoDuca going to the All Star Game, exactly? Not that I don't like Lo Duca, he's been heating up lately, but if we do make the World Series this year, wouldn't it be great to give Mike a shot at the ring he shouldn've gotten in 2000? He's not washed up yet!
    Delgado for Jacobs? Don't be trite, right? It's not like Jacobs is having a particularly awesome year; his power numbers are conspicously mediocre…but then, so is Delgado's batting average. .256 Damn. I've never seen a great hitter look as futile at the plate as Carlos did in his final at-bat tonight. I'm sick of his apparently useless black book. When was the last time Delgado contributed anything meaningful to our line-up? Yup, I'm afraid it's time to reverse that trade. I'm sure the Marlins would go for that. Seems so obvious. That or send Delgado down to Norfolk to clear his head. We need our clean-up hitter back. Gotta do something to counter Lima Time.
    P.S. Anyone notice those bizarre 51 mph pitches El Duque tossed tonight? The board at Shea claimed “change-up” and “slider.” I don't know about you, but I know a knuckleball when I see one. Bravo Mr. Hernandez. Somehow, it seems perfectly logical….

  • Anonymous

    From CBS SportsLine: “The Mets are expected to focus on Washington's Livan Hernandez or Pittsburgh's Kip Wells as the trade deadline nears, writes the New York Times. (updated: 07/04/2006) ”
    Ummm….so we can get either the guy who gave up 5 runs in the first inning against the Nationals today or the guy who gave up 5 runs in the first inning against the Mets yesterday?

  • Anonymous

    Ooops.. my bad. Of course, Livan didn't give up 5 in the 1st, I read the boxscore wrong. He's given up 4 in the second….so far.

  • Anonymous

    No problem. He wound up giving up seven and quickly departing.

  • Anonymous

    You kidding? Rick Peterson could fix both of them in 10 sec–
    On second thought, what ever happened to the Brian Bannister chap? And Mike P. sure looks good. What a shame it would be to lose them for another Peterson Pet Project.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe they're looking at the Kip Wells who pitched 5 innings of no-hit ball against the Mets last night and not the one who gave up 5 runs in the 1st :-P