Lima makes his third start of the season Thursday as the Mets wrap up their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Mets starting pitchers have been plagued by injuries this season. Victor Zambrano is out for the year after tearing a tendon in his pitching elbow on May 6, and Brian Bannister (strained right hamstring) and John Maine (sore right middle finger) are both on the disabled list.
The Mets considered activating Bannister to start this game, but instead he will throw on the side and likely make a rehab start at Triple-A Norfolk this weekend before returning.
“I don’t think it’s fair to rush him into a situation where you can just be cautious and take your time and do what’s right,” manager Willie Randolph said. “You can throw on the side all you want, but when you get into heated situations with the adrenaline flowing and you’ve got a hamstring pull, you’re going to try to do more than you can maybe and run the risk of setting yourself back.”
Lima (0-2, 9.31 ERA) started the season at Norfolk, but was called up to help out the ailing rotation. He has lost both of his starts, including Friday’s 9-6 defeat to Milwaukee.
Lima allowed five runs and four hits in 4 2-3 innings against the Brewers. After the outing, Randolph refused to say whether Lima would get another start.
“He’s pitched well enough at times,” Randolph said. “Obviously, we’re here to win games. All pitchers execute pitches and get through innings, but it was his second start and we’ll re-evaluate and go from there.”
Lima is 1-5 with a 6.52 ERA in 16 career appearances, including 11 starts, against the Cardinals—his highest ERA against any National League team.
He will square off against Jason Marquis (4-4, 5.33), who allowed one run and three hits in seven innings of Saturday’s 9-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, ending a personal four-start losing streak in which he had allowed 25 runs in 22 2-3 innings.
“It’s a step in the right direction, obviously,” Marquis said. “Obviously, I don’t have everything figured out but it definitely feels good to get this one out of the way.”
Marquis is 4-3 with a 3.66 ERA in 16 career appearances, including nine starts, against the Mets.
The Cardinals (25-15) won for the eighth time in 11 games on Wednesday, beating the Mets 1-0. St. Louis improved to 16-5 against the Mets over the last four seasons as Scott Rolen doubled in Albert Pujols in the sixth inning for the game’s only run.
Rolen had been 4-for-28 through the first eight games of the Cardinals’ nine-game homestand before his double. Pujols, who went 0-for-3 after falling hard on his back in Tuesday’s game, has 40 runs in the first 40 games.
Pujols also wore a guard on his left leg after a fouling a ball off his shin on Tuesday.
David Wright had his second straight two-hit game for the Mets (24-15), who have dropped six of nine. New York had scored 28 runs in its previous four games.