Braves 13, Mets 3

Sunday’s ugly line for Jose Lima (5 IP, 7 hits, 5 earned runs, 4 BB) was actually better than anyone had a right to expect given Lima’s struggles at Norfolk this year. But beyond Sunday’s capitulation — pretty nice work from John Smoltz on 3 days’ restthere are two huge question marks in the Mets’ starting rotation. At the moment, starters 1 through 3 are the only certainties, though given how long in tooth Martinez, Glavine and Trachsel are, it’s pretty dangerous to assume none them will miss another start this season.

The Duaner Sanchez-for-Jae Seo trade has been hailed as a steal for the Mets ; the Jorge Julio-for-Kris Benson swap somewhat less so (particularly in light of the former’s improvement…and man, did the latter get clobbered by Jason Varitek today). But the fact remains that Omar Minaya decided over the winter that an abundance of starting pitching was surplus to requirements compared to bullpen depth. The injuries to Brian Bannister and Victor Zambrano should quell much of the optimism surrounding this team, not unless the batting order is prepared to put up double digits on a regular basis.

Unless Minaya is prepared to move younger talent (Milledge, Pelfry) in a desperate attempt to acquire a 4th or 5th starter, Aaron Heilman has to receive another shot at the rotation.

Possibly lost amidst the Sunday gloom : Carlos Beltran just completed one of his best weeks in a Mets uniform.

Newsday’s Jon Heyman wrote this morning that Tom Glavine will have a 5th season in a Mets uniform.

One of the smartest moves the Mets made was their quiet, heretofore-ignored agreement with Glavine to restructure his contract in March 2005. That’s when they changed his deferred payment schedule and, without notice or fanfare, added an $11-million 2007 option, a distinct bargain for the resurrected Cooperstown-bound pitcher with 279 career victories.

Had the option not been added, Glavine, 40, would have had his own option to return to the Braves, something we know he’s considered before, thanks to Braves GM John Schuerholz’s revealing book, “Built to Win.”

Congrats to the Round Rock Express on winning their 9th in a row (a club record since moving to the PCL from the Texas League) with today’s 4-0 defeat of Omaha. 4 Express pitchers combined on a 3 hitter, Chris Baker doing most of the heavy lifting (6 IP, 4 K’s) after the Astros’ Trevor Miller faced a mere 3 batters in his rehab assignment. Hector “Vs. Rector” Gimenez (above) received a rare start at 1B and had a hand in busting up the shutout bid of the Royals’ Adam Benerro, eventually scoring after leading off the 6th with a single (coming in on DH Mike Rodriguez’ bloop single). Gimenez would later hit a 2 run HR to deep right off Joe Nelson.

Former Met Joe McEwing had been toiling in Round Rock prior to Sunday, and was summoned to Denver for the Astros’ 3rd consecutive loss to the Rockies. Houston has placed Chris Burke on the 15 day disabled list.

Earlier today, Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia (above) had his 2nd consecutive strong outing since coming off the DL, scattering 7 hits over 8 shutout innings, as the Indians beat the Mariners, 2-0.

The Phillies are ahead of the Giants tonight, 5-2 in the bottom of the 4th. Pat Burrell hit his 9th HR of the season, a 2 run shot in the first inning off Matt Morris ; The Sultan Of Surly is homerless (one single, a run scored on a Mark Sweeny sac fly, one walk). Imagine what a nice guy Bonds might’ve turned out to be if his college teammates hadn’t borrowed his Trans Am without permission?

(not Barry’s car, but a reasonable facsimile)

(UPDATE : Bonds homered to right field off Jon Lieber in the top of the 6th for no. 713. Aaron Rowand countered with his career HR no. 60 for the Phillies in the bottom of the frame. Hopefully MLB marked Rowand’s ball with some sort of hologram.)