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Striking Gold

The best thing to happen to the Phillies yesterday didn't take place in Cincinnati. Sure, Cole Hamels' first big-league start was huge, and his success against the awesome Reds' lineup foretells good things to come.

But, the best thing to happen to the Phillies yesterday took place in Milwaukee. There, Jose Lima, the newest member of the Mets' starting rotation, proved that in 2006 he is . . . well, he is still Jose Lima. And that's pure gold for the Phillies.

Yesterday, Lima gave up 5 earned runs in 4.67 innings. In his only previous outing on the year, he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. He now has a 9.31 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP.

By adding Lima to the starting rotation to take Victor Zambrano's place, the Mets have said that they are going to let the second worst pitcher in major league history take the mound every fifth day. Yes, you read that right - Lima is the second worst pitcher in major league history, at least by Lee Sinins' RSAA metric (runs saved above league average). Here's the chart, courtesy of Lee Sinins:

Rank Name RSAA
1 Herm Wehmeier -161
2 Jose Lima -131
T3 Bobby Witt -130
T3 Kevin Jarvis -130
5 Mike Kekich -127
6 Jimmy Haynes -120
7 Phil Ortega -119
T8 Jack Fisher -118
T8 Todd Van Poppel -118
T10 Harry McIntire -110
T10 Leo Sweetland -110

As this year's NL East is shaping up to be a showdown between the Mets and the Phils, this roster decision is a huge blessing for the Phils. Thank you Omar Minaya!

If the Mets copy the Royals of last year (when Lima had an ERA of 6.99 in almost 170 innings) and actually do run Lima out there every fifth game, that is a much greater gift to the Phillies than Cole Hamels' arrival. Cole will have his inevitable bumps in the road; we know Lima's performance will be one huge bump for the Mets all season long.

The only downside to Lima's guaranteed awfulness is that he could be so bad that the Mets remove him from the rotation. But, if Darren Oliver is the next best thing the Mets have to fill in rotation spots, I'm not too worried at all.