Yesterday the Mets announced that the starting rotation for the Milwaukee series this weekend will be Jeremi Gonzalez, Jose Lima and Pedro Martinez. One has to wonder if that affected Aaron Heilman‘s performance last night.
Heilman was brought in to pitch the 9th inning of a game that the Mets had come from behind to tie up. Heilman got his first two batters out but then allowed a triple to David Dellucci, hit Jimmy Rollins with a pitch and walked Chase Utley to load the bases. The next batter, Bobby Abreu, hit a dribbler in the infield grass that Heilman decided to take himself instead of letting catcher Paul Lo Duca, who had a better angle on a throw to first, take it. Heilman ended up twisting around and lost his footing while rushing the throw to first base resulting in the throw going wide of first baseman Carlos Delgado, whose two run homer in the top of the inning tied the game, for an error allowing Dellucci to score with the winning run.
Heilman has gone on record as saying he wants to start. And with starting pitchers VÃctor Zambrano, Brian Bannister and John Maine on the shelf he probably thought he’d get a chance. Bannister beat Heilman out for the last spot in the rotation this spring so he must have figured he’d get a shot with two men down. But when the weekend rotation was set yesterday and his name wasn’t among those listed it must have taken the wind out of his sails.
Willie Randolph made a good move putting Heilman into a tight game last night. The message Randolph sent to Heilman was that he is very important to the club out of the bullpen and he will get playing time in prime time situations. Let’s just hope that if Heilman’s game was affected by the situation that he got it all out of his system last night.