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The Should-Have-Been All Star

Mike SteffanosFriday, July 6, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 6 - Astros 2
Played Thursday, July 5, 2007

While less deserving pitchers are honored with an place on the National League roster next Tuesday, John Maine quietly makes a case for being one of the top hurlers in the league. By dominating the Astros last night, Maine won his fourth straight start to help keep the Mets afloat during their stretch of maddeningly inconsistent play. In those 4 games he has pitched 30 innings and allowed a meager 6 earned runs (1.80 ERA) on 19 hits with a strikeout to walk ratio of 25/4. If one measure of a starter is coming up big when the team really needs him, Maine is walking tall right now.

When Maine struggled somewhat in May after being the NL pitcher of the month in April there were many who were willing to write him off as just the beneficiary of a hot start. But he put terrific numbers up again in June, and anyone who watches a couple of his starts can see the improvement in all of his pitches. Moreover, those lapses of concentration that were a trademark of John Maine last year have been conspicuously absent in 2007.

Maine's reaction to his one real jam of the game was telling. With a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Craig Biggio and Hunter Pence singled to lead off. With Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee coming up the Astros had a golden opportunity to make a game of it. Maine reached back and found a little extra for his fastball while mixing in some effective off-speed stuff and blew both of them away on strikes, then retired Mark Loretta to end the threat. It was the type of effort we've come to expect from John Maine in 2007.

John Maine (Last 5 Starts)
Season   (17 Games)109.23433859340102.711.1412-5

View John Maine's Full Season Stats

The offense was more than adequate to back up Maine's effort. Nice to see Shawn Green's bat come alive again the last few days after scuffling since his return from the DL. Don't know what he was thinking of on that ball he let drop in front of him in the eighth, though. I gave him some props a while back on improved defense, but that was vintage 2006 Green last night.

I'm almost tempted to say how good Delgado looks lately, but every time I do he goes back into the tank. Also, even when Lo Duca returns I think Ramon Castro needs to get more playing time.

Box Score

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (3)

Also, even when Lo Duca returns I think Ramon Castro needs to get more playing time.

Why? Just curious as this seems a fragmented thought.

I will not say to much about last nights game, except this team needs a shake up of some kind. The Jose thing is some what like the time when Gil Hodges walked out to left field and took Cleon Jones out of the game for lack of trying. It sent a message to Cleon and the rest of the team and they became more of a team with effort and never say die. We had it, but lost it. Willie has to do more of this to ALL hands and shake them out of their la la mode.

Gene - Yeah sorry. I haven't been feeling well and I abandoned that thought. With the offense struggling and Lo Duca's numbers down from last year, I'd try to get Ramon Castro's power into the lineup more often.
Al - Willie made an example of Jose, and while it may not have been completely fair, I agree with it. I don't know how much a manager can really do, however. This is a very hard group to get a handle on this season.

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