Say what you want about the Mets, but they’re certainly not boring. Whether it’s an eight game winning streak or playing a 20 inning game or their owner flying down to Atlanta to talk to the manager, it’s always something interesting. The latest twist in Metsland is John Maine being pulled from Thursday night’s game against the Nationals after just one batter (naturally, it was a walk).
It seems Jerry Manuel and Dan Warthen didn’t like the way Maine looked in pre-game warm-ups. Then when the game started, they were concerned about Maine’s velocity, or should I say, the lack of velocity — his fastball reached only into the mid-80s. R.A. Dickey throws knuckleballs nearly that fast. So they took him out and will send him to the doctor. It’s unclear what the doctor is supposed to be looking for.
Maine was clearly not happy as he stood on the mound surrounded by Manuel, Warthen and his teammates. It looked like Maine was begging to stay in the game, but Manuel wasn’t listening. When Manuel signaled to the bullpen for Raul Valdes, Maine looked disgusted. But so did Manuel. After they both got back to the dugout, the cameras were focused on them as they argued until Maine stormed off towards the clubhouse. Manuel has never looked that angry since he’s been the Mets manager.
My guess is that we’ve seen the last of Maine in a Mets uniform. If he is indeed injured, he’ll disappear onto the disabled list, joining Sean Green as an MIA. If there’s nothing physically wrong with him, that means he is unable to throw a fastball that would break a pane of glass. The Mets have no use for a pitcher like that, and it says here that they will just release him.
It’s a sad state of affairs. Maine looked so promising as recently as two seasons ago. He had the look of a pitcher who would develop into a very solid number 2 starter. But then he hurt his shoulder, his 90s+ fastball was gone, and Maine couldn’t figure out how to pitch without it.
So now the rotation is in shambles. Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey are still there. Jon Niese is expected to miss only two or three starts. Dickey did all right in his first start as his replacement. Hisanori Takahashi gets his first start in place of Oliver Perez Friday against the Yankees. And now the Mets in all likelihood will need someone to replace Maine. Dillon Gee and Pat Misch are candidates in Buffalo. I thought Misch looked really good last season, and hopefully he will get another chance.
So the Mets may not be winning as much as we’d like, but at least there’s always a reason to tune in. Boring is all right if you’re winning, but boring and losing — that’s a deadly combination.