When the Mets started Jeremy Hefner against the Phillies last September, the right-hander lasted all of seven batters before he needed to be removed from the game.
Six hits and a walk turned into seven runs in a forgettable loss against a team with just as little to play for as the Mets. With Hefner starting on Wednesday night against the same Phillies team, the one solace the Mets could take was that lightning isn't supposed to strike the same place twice.
It didn't, but it was close enough to win you a game of horseshoes. Chase Utley and Domonic Brown homered off Hefner in the first inning and the first six Phillies hitters reached base in a five-run frame that sent the Phillies on their way to a 7-3 victory.
It could have been even worse. Phillies center fielder Ben Revere was caught stealing after walking to lead off the game, which makes you happy that not everyone with the last name Revere was so blissfully unaware of the situation. Had Ben been in that tower 237 years ago, there would have been three or four lanterns and a lot of confused Minutemen.
Hefner actually got out of the first and pitched all the way through three innings, quite an accomplishment given the way things played out in 2012. It wasn't enough to get the Mets a win, which starts to get to the problem with starting the decidedly lesser Hef every five days.
The Mets are starting behind the eight-ball every time they start a game with Hefner on the mound because he has now made 15 starts in the big leagues without once looking like a pitcher who deserved to be making starts in the big leagues. It's one thing to give a guy a run to see if he has anything to offer, but it is quite another to keep doing it long after he proves to be better suited for a less challenging trade.
When Jon Niese and Matt Harvey start games, the Mets have a shot this season. They've started four of the five wins while the other three pitchers have had less success.
Hefner and Aaron Laffey aren't up to the role the Mets are asking them to fill and the sooner that the team can get others in there the better it will be for everybody. Shaun Marcum needs to get healthy, Zack Wheeler needs to get to the big leagues and the team needs to get past using these placeholders quite so often.
If not, you might as well just put a tee up at home plate and save Hefner's salary for a trip to Disneyworld because he serves pretty much the same purpose.