"What are you going to sing for us?"
"I'm going to dust off something from my 2004 catalogue."
"Ok Jose, off you go."
On this "audition" start for Jose Lima, made especially important by the re-aggravation of Brian Bannister's hamstring today, Willie Randolph and the Mets were hoping to see Bo Bice, Chris Daughtry, or even Taylor Hicks emerge.
Instead they got William Hung.
And it's not like Lima had to be Whitney Houston or Billy Holliday out there. St. Louis featured a lineup sans Pujols, so all Lima had to be was a cut rate Vince Neil. But Lima was pounded by the likes of Scott Spiezio and Aaron Miles, and he's perilously close to being voted off.
I want to see the Lima en Vivo experiment work. His honesty and "team first" attitude displayed during his post game interview underscores the reasons I want to see it work. And before today I would argue with you that Lima was just a couple of unfortunate umpire calls away from being looked upon as a serviceable fifth starter. And even today, in the fifth inning, Lima should have gone 1-2-3 if not for yet another horrible umpire call, this time at first base with John Rodriguez clearly out on Jose Valentin's glove flip to first base. Instead, the fifth was extended by an out, and Scott Spiezio's flare over third drove in a run and knocked Lima out after 4 and 2/3's (a familiar storyline).
Someone once said that adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it. Today, adversity brought out the very worst that Lima Time can provide...most notably, the temper. Take the second inning after his error allowed the fourth run to score: showing up Fluff Castro in full view...barking at Jack Bauer Franco (definitely frowned upon), and cocking his bat back as if to bash someone's head in...all in the span of ten minutes.
Lima Time is apparently kept by coo-coo clock.
It did reveal some good, as Lima was close to perfect after the second inning. And immediately after the bad call, Lima dove for Scott Rolen's tapper and made the out from his back, so there's just a hint of bulldog in him. But the second inning revealed that there's also some pit bull in him...and unfortunately it's the pit bull who's trained not to interact with people so they can be intimidating guard dogs, then turn around and attack infants (and Franco), at which point the owner acts all shocked that the dog would do this.
And now, after a 3-6 road trip heading into the Yankee series, the Mets braintrust have some questions to answer: Can they really afford to wait until Mike Pelfrey is completely ready for the majors? Is there another option in the minors? Is there a viable trade option out there that will be better than Jose Lima, yet not cost an arm and a leg?
"Jose, your performance reminds me of a really bad wedding singer. That was horrible."
"No no no no no no no no no no no, please Mr. Randolph, I can be better...I caught a touch of Keith Hernandez's pneumonia when we were re-enacting the civil war...let me sing again."
"But dawg, it was pitchy...way too pitchy. It's a no for me."