“It’s Lima Time,’’ is how Mets Jose Lima pitcher likes to talk of his upcoming starts, as if it’s a Rolling Stones concert.
However, after tonight, Lima’s time might be up, as he more resembled those forgotten 1970s acts the former Greg Brady peddles on the late-night infomercials, totally unplugged in a 9-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Five runs in 4 2/3 innings just doesn’t cut it.
With Brian Bannister expected back in a few weeks to fill the fourth spot in the rotation, the Mets are currently auditioning fifth starters, of which Lima is a candidate, as are tonight’s starter, Jeremi Gonzalez, and John Maine, who is on the disabled list, and possibly another minor league arm or two.
Then, maybe general manager Omar Minaya decides to hit the speed dial.
“It’s not fair to say that. We’ll play it out and see who’s best at the time,’’ manager Willie Randolph said when asked if Lima, once a National League All-Star in his 21-win 1999 season with Houston, had the inside track at Number Five.
After his first start, Lima vowed he’d be better, that he would prove he still had it, and for a while it appeared as it were true. He breezed through the first three innings, then _ surprise _ started to unravel in the fourth, when he was going through Milwaukee’s lineup for a second time.
Lima showed in spring training he has the staying power for two or three innings, then becomes unable to spot his fastball. That’s what happened tonight. He had two down and a runner on second in the fifth, but couldn’t put away Rickie Weeks or Bill Hall.
Who? And, who?
Geoff Jenkins hit a bases-loaded double to chase Lima, and the Brewers tormented Mets relievers Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver.
After the game Lima moaned about not getting the close calls, but eventually said, “It was my fault.’’
Yes, it was.