Tag: john maine

2010 Analysis: John Maine

When I first put together my list of players for whom to write evaluations, John Maine didn’t appear on the Mets’ 40-man roster, and as a result, I completely forgot about him.

That pretty much sums up Maine’s 2010 season: forgettable.

Going into spring training, Maine and Oliver Perez were supposed to be the lynchpins in the middle of the Mets’ starting rotation. Both pitched ineffectively, became injured, lost significant velocity, and as a result, couldn’t be removed from the team fast enough.

Maine has always had issues with command, mainly due to a mechanical flaw in his pitching motion. Interestingly, that flaw is part of the reason for his short run of success – his delivery is as such that he can only hit one part of the strike zone consistently: up and in to right-handed batters / up and away to left-handed batters. A pitcher can find moderate success throwing to that spot with 95+ MPH heat, which is what Maine did from mid-2006 through mid-2007. Unfortunately, a pitcher eventually needs to have a more rounded strategy and command of other pitches in order to succeed over the long term. Also unfortunately, those mechanics that produced the velocity and location that made Maine successful, also were a tremendous strain on his shoulder muscles. Eventually, the shoulder was going to break down, and it did. Maine underwent surgery, and returned with the same mechanics, same location, but a fastball that struggled to reach 90 MPH.

2011 Projection

John Maine is eligible for arbitration, and if he goes through with it, he will earn at least $2.6M in 2011 (80% of his 2010 salary). Remarkably, the chance of his salary reducing as a result of arbitration is almost nil – the system is rigged so reductions rarely occur. Because of that, there is almost no chance whatsoever that the Mets offer him arbitration; his best chance at remaining an employee of the Mets is if they non-tender him (effectively releasing him) and then re-sign him on a minor-league deal. If that’s what happens, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world – the Mets have, after all, invested in his physical rehabilitation the last two years, so it would be nice to get some payback in the event Maine does find a way to be a moderately effective MLB pitcher again. However, there’s a slim chance of that happening if he doesn’t regain the 95-MPH fastball.

Click here to read the 2009 Analysis of John Maine


Tracking the John Maine Not-So-Magical Mystery Tour

It’s been quite a whirlwind of comments swirling around John Maine — from various sources.

Originally — meaning, back in March — he claimed he was “fine”, despite poor performance and an inability to break 88 MPH. There was a point where Jerry Manuel suggested — to the media — that Maine’s spot in the rotation was in jeopardy. After a meeting between the two, Maine claimed that throwing secondary pitches ruined his velocity, and would make a mechanical tweak and go back to his style of throwing almost all fastballs.

After a few bad games, it was discovered that his LEFT arm was bothering him — as opposed to the right one, which underwent surgery and was the limb responsible for the 10 MPH drop in velocity.

A few more bad starts later, Jerry Manuel removed Maine from a game after walking the leadoff batter. The two then exchanged heated words in the dugout. Afterward, pitching coach Dan Warthen called Maine a “habitual liar”.

Maine was placed on the DL, and recently rehabbed in the minors. Despite more poor performances, Maine again claimed himself fit, and there was some buzz that he wouldn’t be interested in returning to the club as a reliever — though, he publicly stated he’d be OK with pitching out of the bullpen.

This is where things start to get weird


Oliver Perez On the DL

The Mets have announced that Oliver Perez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list — retroactive to June 1 — with patella tendinitis of his right knee.

Wonder if Ollie is aware which knee has the injury?

Supposedly, the tendinitis was discovered in an MRI taken last night. It’s the same knee for which he received surgery on September 1, 2009. Perez is expected to be in Florida today to begin his rehabilitation.

I’m going to guess that this “injury” is completely made up. If it’s not, you have to wonder if there is still a major problem with the way the Mets handle their injured players — because both Perez and John Maine have reinjured the body part that was operated on. Either their surgeries were not a “success”, or something went wrong with the rehab — for example each pitcher may have been brought back too soon, or maybe they were pushed too hard, or maybe they weren’t pushed enough, or maybe the program was inappropriate for their respective injuries.

In any case, Perez, Maine, Luis Castillo, and Gary Matthews Jr. are all off the 25-man roster — something many Mets fans had hoped to see. Now we’ll see if the absence of those four men will make any difference on the team’s performance.


Game 42: Win Over Nationals

Mets 10, Nationals 7

What a difference a day makes…

The Mets exploded for 10 runs on 15 hits, led by a strikeout-free David Wright, who finished with 4 RBI. Wright’s 3-run double in the first inning put the Mets ahead for good, but it was a bumpy ride.

In the bottom of the first inning, John Maine walked leadoff hitter Nyjer Morgan and was then pulled by manager Jerry Manuel. The official report on Maine’s “injury” was that he wasn’t injured at all. Apparently, Manuel didn’t like something about Maine’s velocity and mechanics. Maine wasn’t happy with the decision, to say the least. It makes you wonder if Dan Warthen or Jerry Manuel saw anything in Maine’s warmup. Or maybe it was just a stunt. Stay tuned.

With Maine out of the game, Raul Valdes came on and pitched brilliantly – 5 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, 6 K – by the time he exited the game, the Mets had an 8-1 lead. Manny Acosta quickly gave up two runs that were charged to Valdes, but the Mets were in control of the game… for the time being.

Meanwhile, the Mets offense was relentless – Jason Bay and Ike Davis each had three hits. Rod Barajas hit his 10th home run.

The Nats put up three in the eighth but Pedro Feliciano was able to get out of a jam by getting Adam Dunn to flyout with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Francisco Rodriguez did his customary “getting thrown off a merry-go-round at 50 mph” routine, looking like he was on the verge of losing his composure while allowing a hit and a run before getting the save.

Next Game

The Mets take on the Yankees on Friday night at Citi Field. Hisanori Takahashi (3-1, 3.12) takes the mound against Javier Vasquez (2-4, 8.01). First pitch at 7:10pm.

Check out this Super-8mm film footage of the first time the Diamondbacks visited Shea Stadium in 1998 – with audio of Bob Murphy and Gary Cohen. Great stuff:


Mets Game 37: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 7 Mets 5

This time, the Mets offense scored some runs — five, in fact. But the Mets pitching allowed more.

In truth, the game never seemed as close as it was. I will not go so far as to say the Mets gave up — they didn’t — but for whatever reason, the run differentiation — even when it was only 3, then 2 — seemed much larger than it was. Maybe it was me.

Game Notes

John Maine began his start by tossing 12 straight balls to walk the bases loaded and allowed 3 runs in the first frame, which required 40 pitches to complete. He threw a total of 112 in 5 weak innings, in which he allowed 6 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks. I truly believe that Maine would look a lot worse, and people would be calling for him to be demoted to the minors, if it were not for Oliver Perez. In other words, Maine is lucky to have Ollie around as the “ugly girl” — because Maine looks a lot prettier in comparison.

Jose Reyes returned to the leadoff spot and went 2-for-5 with a double and 2 runs scored. I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

With Reyes back on top, Angel Pagan and his .326 OBP was the #3 hitter. Not sure why, but whatever. Meantime #5 hitter David Wright (.406 OBP) went 2-for-3 with a run scored and 2 RBI. Even when Wright is slumping, he’s still the best hitter on the Mets. Did you know he’s first or second on the Mets in every major offensive category?

Luis Castillo drove in 2 runs with 2 hits, including a 390-foot double to right-center in the 9th. I know most Mets fans hate him, but his steady if unspectacular production is nowhere close to the reason the Mets are in fourth place.

Though, Castillo was caught napping in the bottom of the eighth, when Pedro Feliciano quick-pitched Hanley Ramirez and fooled Luis instead of Hanley. Castillo was looking down at his shoes as the pitch was delivered, and looked up just in time to see Hanley’s grounder bound up the middle and past him for a base hit. I doubt Castillo would’ve gotten to the ball AND thrown out the speedy Ramirez, but it didn’t look good.

Yes, fourth place. Weren’t they in first about a week ago? And in second a few days ago? Don’t look now, but the last-place Braves are now 17-19, but 6-4 in their last 10, while the 18-19 Mets are 3-7 over the same span — and have lost 4 in a row.

As long as we’re quoting numbers … the Mets’ 4-11 road record is among the worst in all MLB. The only team with a worse record on the road is the Orioles (5-15).

If there was a silver lining in this game, it was the fact the home team didn’t have to bat in the ninth — which saved an inning pitched by the bullpen.

Next Mets Game

The Marlins go for the sweep in the fourth and final contest at 1:10 PM on Sunday afternoon. Jon Niese pitches for the Mets against the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco is 3-2 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, and is averaging a hair under 7 IP per start.


Mets Game 32: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 3 Mets 2

Another close game, but the Mets fall short.

Game Notes

John Maine pitched fairly well, tossing 6 innings and allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks. I couldn’t tell by the off-kilter angle of the outfield camera, but it looked like Maine might’ve been rotating his upper body a little less than normal — it’s so hard to see what’s going on from the view of my living room couch. He threw about 95% fastballs, mixing in a handful of changeups. Velocity was around 86-88 MPH, occasionally hitting 90 MPH. All in all, encouraging. There looks to be the possibility that Maine can be a legitimate #5 or possibly #4 MLB starter, if he can keep opposing teams from sitting dead-red on the fastball.

Jose Reyes was thrown out of the game for arguing a called strike three to end the inning with Angel Pagan on 2B in the bottom of the 7th. Can we please end this ridiculous experiment of Reyes batting third? It’s clearly messing with his head.

Jerry Manuel was also thrown out after supporting Reyes after the fact, leaving Dave Jauss in charge of the club.

Alex Cora replaced Reyes and made a spectacular play in the 9th to save a run, then drove a base hit to set up a heroic opportunity for Jason Bay in the bottom of the frame. However, Bay struck out to end the game.

Ike Davis hit a single off LOOGY Sean Burnett in the 8th. He’s now 8-for-14 vs. LHPs, and has an OPS of over 1.800 against them.

Pedro Feliciano had another disappointing outing, allowing three hits and a run in 1/3 of an inning. His 1.88 ERA is deceiving, because he’s allowed 12 hits and 10 walks in 14 IP, and allowed 10 baserunners in his last 7 outings, spanning 3 1/3 innings. One must wonder if he’s getting worn out from overuse.

Pudge Rodriguez went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s hitting .393 on the season with a .417 OBP.

Miguel Batista earned his first save of the year, and only his third since 2005. Matt Capps was given the day off after saving both games over the weekend. Imagine Jerry Manuel resting K-Rod after pitching in back-to-back games?

Six out of the Mets’ last seven games were decided by one run. The seventh game was decided by two runs. Talk about keeping things tight.

The Mets had 12 hits but struck out 11 times, and were 1-for-12 with RISP. They left 11 runners on base.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nationals do it again on Tuesday night at 7:10 PM. Jon Niese faces Scott Olsen, who has been lights out in his last four starts.


Mets Game 27: Win Over Reds

Mets 5 Reds 4

They went ahead, they fell behind, they fought back … and in the end, they won.

The Mets and Reds went back and forth all game, and by the time the 27th out was recorded, the Mets were the team remaining standing, thanks to a solo blast by homerun king Rod “Piazza” Barajas.

Game Notes

John Maine spun his best start of the year, going 6 innings and allowing just one earned run on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6 in the process. No, I’m not terribly impressed, and chalking it up to the benefit of the same youthful and over-aggressive Reds lineup that made Oliver Perez look acceptable on Monday night. Maybe that’s being negative, but I prefer “realistic”. In any case, I’ll take it, but at the same time will not adjust my low expectations for Maine.

Gotta love the tenacity of these 2010 Mets — something we haven’t seen since … well, since I can’t remember when.

Jose Reyes had two hits, and seems to be shaking the rust off, both offensively and defensively. Now if only stubborn Jerry Manuel will move him back to the leadoff spot, we may be on to something.

The Mets were an impressive 2-for-6 with RISP and left only 4 men on base. Though, the stats-focused sabermetrician Jerry Manuel might let you know that those numbers suggest the Mets didn’t put many men on base in the first place.

Fernando Nieve allowed back-to-back homers in the 8th to allow the Reds to tie the game. I can’t for the life of me figure out how Nieve could be so ineffective — it’s not like he’s been overused or anything.

For the record, Nieve is now on pace to appear in 102 games this season. Maybe I’m harping on the subject, or maybe I’m pointing out something incredibly irresponsible.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs in Cincinnati on Wednesday night at 12:35 PM on Cinco de Mayo. Jon Niese faces Johnny Cueto.


Mets Game 22: Win Over Dodgers

Mets 7 Dodgers 3

This is getting a little silly. A 9-1 homestand? Seriously? Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Game Notes

John Maine hurled 6 innings, allowing 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2 earned runs, striking out 9. I know he did this because I saw it with my own eyes, and I reviewed the boxscore, but I have no explanation as to how he did it. His command was so-so — though, better than in his past starts — and his velocity was around 87-89. He did have good downward and sideways movement on the majority of his fastballs, but he didn’t do a fantastic job of changing speeds, nor was his breaking stuff anything better than mediocre. Yet, he was getting solid MLB hitters such as James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier to swing and miss. Color me befuddled. Maybe it was magic, or voo-doo, or a deal with the devil — whatever it was, it defied logic. And I’ll take it.

The Mets offense jumped all over Dodger pitcher John Ely, who was making his first MLB start, for 5 earned runs in 6 innings. They scored another two against Ronald Belisario, who was in only his fourth appearance of the season after coming off the suspended list and missing all of spring training due to visa problems.

Next Mets Game

The first-place Mets take a well-deserved day off on Thursday before beginnng a three-game series against the Phillies in Philadelphia on Friday night. Game time is 7:05 PM and the scheduled pitchers are Jon Niese and Kyle Kendrick.