Tag: john maine

Rumor: John Maine for Corey Hart

richard_kielThe big rumor out of Indianapolis early this morning was a trade of John Maine to the Brewers for Corey Hart.

As of 9:30 am, however, the deal was either dead or on the back burner, as Milwaukee is focusing on bullpen help.

But what the heck, let’s discuss it — at least until a more salacious rumor comes out of Indy.

Personally, I prefer

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2009 Analysis: John Maine

john-maine-scratchWhen May rolls around next year, John Maine will be 29 years old. That said, you can no longer look at him as a young pitcher on the rise.

In fact, the opposite is true; in many ways, Maine has gone backward since 2006. His ERA has increased from 3.60 to 3.91 to 4.18 to 4.43. His walks per nine innings have risen from 3.3 in 2006 to 4.2 this past season. Hits per nine innings went from 6.9 to 7.4 (7.8 in 2008). Strikeouts per nine innings have dropped from 7.1 in ’06 and 8.5 in ’07 to 6.1. He has suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery, and has yet to prove he has recovered 100% — with a related drop in velocity from 95-96 MPH to 91-92.

Even before the injury, Maine was regressing — though, that could have been due to

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Mets Game 160: Win Over Astros

Mets 7 Astros 1

A chance to go out with a bang.

After getting swept four times in their seven September series, the Mets won the opener of their final series of the season — guaranteeing, at least, they won’t go oh-fer-October.

John Maine was brilliant, pitching perhaps his best game all season. Maine went a full seven frames, allowing only one run on five hits, walking none and striking out seven.

Meantime Wandy Rodriguez’s magic against the Mets continues to occur only in Houston — though his six-inning, 3-runs-allowed effort was respectable. It was reliever Doug Brocail who got whacked for four runs in the ninth inning and swelled the final score — making the game seem less close than it really was. (Was that a Yogi-ism?)

Notes

For one of the few times since 2007, Maine had sharp command of his fastball. His velocity was encouraging, as well, reaching 93 on occasion. He had the ‘stros batters jumping out of their shoes on his slider, as well, which he mixed in expertly. Though, I’d still like to see him throw his change-up more often, especially early in counts, rather than use the slider as his change of pace.

If nothing else, this outing pretty much cemented a 2010 contract for Maine.

Both David Wright and Jeff Francoeur went 3-for-4, Frenchy with 2 RBI.

Daniel Murphy hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer, his 12th of the season.

Nick Evans shook off the mothballs and appeared as a pinch-hitter as well — and blasted a triple.

What in the world was Michael Bourn doing attempting to steal third in the first inning with none out and Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Lee following him in the lineup? I haven’t watched enough of the ‘stros to know what went wrong for them this year, but boneheaded decisions like that are a clue.

Equally strange, in the fifth frame, Wandy Rodriguez sacrifice bunted with a man on second and one out.

Nice conversation among Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ralph Kiner about the enormous number of strikeouts in this day and age. The idea of cutting down the swing and protecting the plate with two strikes has completely left the game since teams pay more millions for more homeruns and Beanehead math said that the risk of swinging for homers and missing on strike three outweighed the negatives. But now that steroids are less prevalent — and in turn homerun totals are dropping — I wonder if two-strike strategy will go back to the old-school philosophy.

Next Mets Game

The next-to-last game of the season occurs on Saturday afternoon at 1 PM. Pat Misch faces Yorman Bazardo.

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Mets Game 155: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 9 Mets 6

A ninth-inning rally closed the gap, but the game really wasn’t that close.

John Maine was OK through the first four frames, then the wheels came off in the fifth. By the time he exited, his line was: 4 2/3 IP, 7 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K.

We’ll just go straight to the notes.

Notes

Jorge Cantu had another big game against the Mets — he went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs scored, and an RBI. The double in the fifth opened up the floodgates. His average is only .270 vs. the Mets this year, but he seems to have huge games against them — to the point where his performances were so memorable, my wife thought he PLAYED for the Mets (in the past – she knows he’s not on the team now).

My wife also thinks MLB should use the mercy rule. Not the worst idea I’ve heard.

David Wright’s timing is all screwed up. And he admitted to thinking about that inside pitch. I’ve said it before here, and I’ll say it again: the biggest difference between the “modern” era and 25-30 years ago is not steroids as much as the zero-tolerance policy for inside pitches / hit batters. It doesn’t matter how strong you are — if you have one bit of fear, the pitcher has the advantage. Goose Gossage calls today’s game “home run derby” because hitters no longer are concerned about being hit by a pitch.

Sometimes Keith Hernandez says the darnedest things …. for example, in the midst of John Maine’s control issues in the bottom of the fourth, Keith quips, “I like the way John Maine is pitching” — in reference to his hitting Cody Ross with a pitch and proceeding to miss in and up on his next few pitches before hitting John Baker minutes later. Keith seemed to think that Maine was purposely throwing the ball inside, but the truth is that Maine had no clue where the ball was going, and was missing his target on nearly every pitch that inning. There’s nothing good about lack of command. Maine’s terrible mechanics make it very difficult for him to throw the ball anywhere other than up and in to RH hitters, as we’ve covered here on several occasions. (But don’t take it from me — watch his pitches, and count how many run in toward RHs / away from LHs.)

Speaking of illogical thought processes, Ron Darling mentioned that he spoke to Dan Warthen about Maine and asked if there was anything about Maine’s mechanics that would alert him as to whether he was hurting himself. Warthen told Darling that he has a “simple” method of: if he sees Maine’s ball tailing in to the RH hitter, then “he knows that there’s a problem with his arm slot”. Huh? Again, Maine’s usual mechanics cause his pitches to “naturally” ride in to the RH hitter — it has very little, if anything, to do with arm slot, and everything to do with the over-rotation of his hips. Furthermore, Maine’s physical problem is with his shoulder. A low arm slot would put more pressure on his elbow and actually take pressure OFF his shoulder. So again, I’m not getting the logic behind Warthen’s analytics.

Awesome doubletalk by Jerry Manuel during the postgame. David Lennon opened a question to him saying that Maine looked uncomfortable and asked if he was physically OK. Manuel responded that Maine’s “healthy, physically fine”, then closed the answer mentioning “a dead arm” and saying “with Maine health is a big issue”.

The Mets were sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. And they’ve been so, since Opening Day — as Bobby Ojeda also stated during the postgame. I stand behind my belief that the awful fundies would have done in the Mets regardless of the injuries. Under Jerry Manuel, the Mets play bad baseball — it matters not who is on the field.

Ojeda WENT OFF on the Mets’ lack of fundamentals all year. At one point he said, “all this talk about the return of the cavalry, blah blah blah — it doesn’t matter!”. I love you, Bobby.

Ojeda was also convinced that Maine was having a physical issue on this evening. This may have been Ojeda’s best postgame ever.

Two BIG mistakes by David Wright in the fifth inning, on the same play. With two outs and Wright on second base, Jeff Francoeur hit a liner to the outfield. Wright held up at first — apparently, he did not know there were two outs or he would’ve been sprinting at the crack of the bat. Then, he slowed down to a brisk jog about 20 feet before he reached home plate — and Francoeur was tagged out at second base moments before Wright touched the plate. Therefore, the run did not count. In that situation, the manager has to pull the player from the game — I don’t care if it’s David Wright or Babe Ruth.

And as long as we’re talking about poor fundamentals, Omir Santos allowed two balls to get “through the wickets” for wild pitches. In both cases, he was trying to “field” the ball with his glove up off the ground. Young catchers, pay attention: you always, always get the glove on the ground FIRST, and leave it there, and block the ball with your body. In addition, when your knees go down, your feet should go IN together and touch each other behind you. This way, if the ball does get under your glove / through your legs, it will be stopped by your feet and not roll to the backstop. I have seen very few MLB catchers execute this proper technique — mainly because it’s not taught at any level. (But if you live in the NY-Metro area you can learn from me!)

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series begins at 1:10 PM on Sunday afternoon. Pat Misch pitches against Josh Johnson.

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Mets Game 150: Win Over Nationals

Mets 6 Nationals 2

NO ONE sweeps the Mets in THEIR HOUSE!

Those bad-boy gangstas from Flushing weren’t about to let some chumps from DC put them on blast …

John Maine won his first game since Custer’s Last Stand and the Mets offense exploded for four runs in the first three innings to hand the Nationals their 98th loss.

Maine went a full five frames, allowing no runs on two hits and a walk in an encouraging 75-pitch outing.

Daniel Murphy drove in two runs for the second straight game and six different Mets crossed the plate — four against starter and loser Garret Mock.

Notes

Angel Pagan went 3-for-5 from the leadoff spot but didn’t hit a triple. He did hit a double, though.

Wilson Valdez and Murphy DID hit triples though. Murphy also hit a double.

Maine’s fastball hung around 89-91 most of the time, and touched 92 a handful of times. His command wasn’t great but the Nats hitters were fairly aggressive. Lucky for John, the one spot he hits by default — up and in to righties / up and away to LH — is difficult to lay off and even harder to hit cleanly.

Next Mets Game

The Mets remain home to host the Braves for a three-game set beginning on Monday night at 7:10 PM. Pat Misch faces Derek Lowe.

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Mets Game 143: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 5 Mets 4

The Mets magic number is down to one; that is, any combination of one Mets loss or one Phillies win mathematically eliminates them from the NL East Championship. Though, my calculations may be incorrect.

Despite another ninth-inning rally against the Phillies bullpen, it was too little, too late for the Mets.

John Maine made his long-awaited return, and gave up one run on two hits and a walk in three innings; he threw 57 pitches. Not a terrible outing, but unfortunately bad enough to be saddled with the loss.

Tobi Stoner relieved Maine but was hammered by the Phillies, who blasted two homers and scored three runs in his three-inning stint. Lance Broadway allowed the fifth Phillie run, but it could’ve been a lot worse — he wiggled his way out of a bases-loaded situation in the seventh without yielding a run.

The Mets, however, couldn’t do much against starter and winner Kyle Kendrick, reaching him for two runs in his 7 1/3 innings of work. Their best chance to win the game came when Brad Lidge entered the ninth; they scored another two off the Phillies’ closer but he escaped with his 29th save.

Notes

In the second inning, John Maine threw four straight balls to Pedro Feliz, but Feliz remained at the plate. I watched the replay on DVR three times to confirm — four straight balls, no walk. On ball four, Ben Francisco “stole” second base, which may have confused things. The fifth pitch was called a strike, and Feliz hacked at the next several pitches before flying out to left field. Big difference between no outs, men on first and second, and one out, man on second. Though, the next batter, Paul Bako, hit a grounder to second that would’ve been a DP ball. Of course, we don’t know for sure if the pitch sequence and outcome would’ve been exactly the same.

Maine threw as fast as 91 MPH, but, as usual, had a difficult time throwing strikes to the outside part of the plate to RH hitters / inside to lefties. That’s a function of his mechanical flaw.

Citizens Bank Park makes power hitters out of everybody. David Wright broke out with two bombs yesterday after going homerless for over a month, Anderson Hernandez hit a dinger to dead center this afternoon, and punch-and-judy Josh Thole hit a ball to the base of the right field wall.

Thole, by the way, went 4-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, and caught another solid game. Jeff Francoeur was 3-for-4. Those two hitters more than doubled the output of the rest of the team, which combined for three hits total.

A return to the Fall Classic by the Phillies would seem to be dependent on whether they can find someone to close out the ninth inning. However, their 20 blown saves thus far this year has had little impact on their ability to remain at the top of the standings. Remember last year, when everyone blamed the Mets’ bullpen for their second-place finish?

The biggest differences I see in Brad Lidge compared to his successful times are: a) inability to get ahead of hitters 0-1; and b) a few MPH shaved from his fastball and slider. Those two factors probably go hand-in-hand, since in the past he got more swinging strikes on sliders that had a bit more oomph, and froze batters with faster fastballs. I seem to remember his fastball being in the 96-97 range, occasionally touching 98, and the slider running in around 93-94. Now his fastball is 92-94 and slider in the low 90s.

Lance Broadway has nice run and sink on his sinker, but has problems placing it inside the strike zone. If he can find a slightly higher release point, many of those balls at the ankles will turn into strikes at the knees.

Next Mets Game

Different bat time, different bat channel, but the Mets and Phillies are playing again later this evening — 8 PM, on ESPN. Tim Redding faces Pedro Martinez.

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John Maine – Ready or Not?

john-maine-baseballAfter throwing four innings in a minor league game in Florida, John Maine has proclaimed his arm healthy. The Star-Ledger reports that Maine could soon join the rotation.

In fact, we might see him make a start this coming Sunday, against the Philadelphia Phillies. If so, it would be his first appearance in a big-league game since June 6th. But will his performance in the final weeks of this season truly give us any inkling to his health in 2010?

According to Maine:

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End of the Month – Where’s Reyes?

reyes-ahhThe calendar says we are heading into the last week of July, which could technically be described as the “end of the month”. To refresh everyone’s memory, it was July 16th when Omar Minaya suggested that Jose Reyes might be back at the end of the month.

In turn, we suggested that Minaya would make such a proclamation for no reason other than to stimulate ticket sales. But in fact, that silly conspiracy theory has been proven wrong, because Reyes IS back — he’s been playing in simulated games in Florida since July 21st!

From Ben Shipgel’s column at The New York Times, July 17th:

“Of the nine Mets on the disabled list, Minaya identified Reyes and starter John Maine as the two most likely to return by the end of July, although that seems unlikely.”

Apparently, we misconstrued the definition of “return”. I, for one, thought it meant a “return to Queens”, as in, a “return to play for the Mets”. But in fact it meant “return to Port St. Lucie” — which is where Reyes enjoyed spring training.

And in John Maine’s case, it meant a “return to the doctor”, because Maine is in fact getting another opinion regarding his injured shoulder.

If you hadn’t heard, Maine has made zero progress with his shoulder since going on the DL back on June 11th. At the time, it was considered a minor setback, as reported by MetsBlog:

Maine told reporters, ‘It’s no big deal,’ noting his shoulder is weak, there is fatigue, and ‘it’s dead.’

Maine said he believes he will only miss one start, maybe two, and he will begin a strengthening program in the next day or so.

Perhaps getting advice from Carlos Beltran, Maine chose to go over the heads of the Mets’ medical staff and front office, and schedule his own appointment with Dr. James Andrews. Usually, pitchers see Dr. Andrews when things are really, really bad. That said, it’s probably safe to write off Maine for the remainder of the season. Thankfully, Oliver Perez is 100%.

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