200 Miles From the Citi

May 21, 2010 5:38 AM

Maine Concern


Something's going on with SNY - for about the second or third time this week it was blacked out on my Extra Innings Package Thursday night.

And for whatever reason, Thursday's game wasn't being offered on the Nats' network, MASN.

So I had no idea until late Thursday that John Maine threw just five pitches (surprise, surprise, he walked the leadoff batter) before being lifted.

But the hook came not out of frustration, instead as a precautionary measure.  There was concern over a decrease in velocity from Maine - a recurring theme all year.

This goes back quite a ways - remember he left that game early that I attended at Citi Field against the Braves, after I thought he looked terrible warming up in the bullpen.  That was April 23rd or so.

And now it seems pitching coach Dan Warthen is hyper-aware of Maine's velocity, or lack thereof, because Maine was lifted right away...and much to his dismay.  (Jerry Manuel received the brunt of Maine's anger...Maine was disappointed Manuel didn't even ask him how he felt.  Hard to pin down here if this is another of those David Wright being rested situations, where Manuel has to make the call on his own, or if it's one of those situations where Manuel needs to be more communicative.)

Something tells me the Mets have another pitcher heading to the DL - with Maine following Jon Niese earlier this week.

The offense didn't seem to miss a beat - they scored 10 runs.  (The bullpen,though, did their best to blow it, as the Mets held on to win 10-7.)  The Mets had a 3-0 lead (a bases-loaded double by David Wright) before Maine even took the field.

Now, the loss of Maine isn't a season-ender.  It may end up giving someone else an opportunity to shine (or, he may not be lost for any time at all).  Hisanori Takahashi's start Friday night against the Yankees will go a long way towards helping improve the Mets' rotation.

The bigger issue is whether this is the beginning of the end for Maine.  This sounds like something that is getting worse and it something surgery can fix?  Maine is kind of a headcase - is it something he can even bounce back from?

Surprisingly, after last year's injury debacle...the Mets may have done the exact right thing by getting Maine out of the game Thursday night.  We'll have to wait and see what effect it has on his career.

WRIGHT WATCH:  I can't tell you how happy I am to report that not only did David Wright come back from his day off with nary a strikeout....but he even doubled.  So  that's 9 doubles on the season.  And that strikeout-in-consecutive-games streak for Wright is mercifully over.  He had 4 RBI in the game.

FANTASYLAND:  I was all set to give you a case study today of my great fantasy baseball idea - until this Maine development came up.  Stay tuned for that - I think I'll save it for the Sunday Paper.  

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