By Mike Steffanos
Dodgers 5 - Mets 0
Shutouts are wild this week. The Mets were held scoreless for the second time the day after registering their second consecutive shutout. As for John Maine, I think it would be accurate to say that he didn't do much to make his case for a playoff start.
Maine was in some trouble right from the start, allowing back-to-back hits to Furcal and Kenny Lofton leading off the game. He came back to get Garciaparra and Drew, but then was betrayed by David Wright's throwing error that allowed two runs to score.
The real problem inning for Maine was the fifth. Rafael Furcal led off with a long home run, then Kenny Lofton lined out hard to Delgado for an out. Garciaparra followed with another home run, and J. D. Drew hit one that only Carlos Beltran's tremendous catch kept from being the third home run of the evening. Finally, with 2 men on Wilson Betemit flied out deep to left to end the inning.
The Mets didn't muster much offense. In the first Jose Reyes helped out Dodger starter Hong-Chih Kuo, who was struggling with some early wildness, by getting thrown out trying to steal third. Then in the fifth, leadoff singles by Wright and Green, the first two hits of the game for the Mets, were wasted when Chris Woodward struck out and Lastings Milledge grounded into a double play.
Thoughts on the game
John Maine told Lo Duca before the game that he wasn't in synch warming up. After it was over, Maine summed up his evening for Chris Girandola of Mets.com:
I was terrible. My changeup hasn't been good in my last four starts; neither has my slider. My fastball was about the only good thing working tonight, and even that wasn't that good. What hurts me, though, is not making quality offspeed pitches.
Let's update Maine's chart since August 1:
|TOTAL (7 Games)||40||21||19||34||28||12||10||4.28||1.15||6-1|
Besides the uncharacteristic wildness last night, Maine's other problems are what we've all seen in the last few starts. He's a smart kid, and he nailed it. He's not throwing quality off-speed pitches, and leaving his fastball in hittable areas, too. The home runs are coming on both hanging off-speed pitches and poorly located fastballs. As alluded to in Girandola's recap on Mets.com, Maine has been struggling with his delivery falling a little out of synch, and the alarming number of home runs allowed are an off-shoot of that. He still has time to turn it around, but he'll need to do it fairly quickly.
Not much to say about the offense. Wright was the only one that had a good night. I have to say, though, that Chris Woodward has been a big disappointment this season. Last year, although he struck out a little too much, he came up with some big hits and held his own at the plate. This season he is the proverbial automatic out in the order, especially in RBI situations. He always seems to be in an 0-2 hole in those spots.