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Maine Looks Strong

Mike SteffanosSunday, March 9, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

I haven't written about the actual games too much this spring. I haven't really had the chance to sit down, relax and really soak in a game before today. I DVR everything on tv, but mostly I'm just scanning the game for highlights when I watch it later.

We had some guests over this afternoon to watch the UCONN Women's basketball team's Big East tournament game against DePaul. After our guests left I thought about working for a while, since I've been pretty swamped lately. Instead, I decided I needed a night to relax, so I sat down and actually watched today's game against the Astros in full. It was a good choice, since it was as well as the Mets have played this spring.

John Maine had some real life on his fastball today, and managed to drop in some decent sliders, particularly in the last inning or two he pitched. I believe Maine has a real chance to take that next step and become a real top pitcher this season, despite the skepticism of the John Kruks of the world. I know there are still plenty of pundits out there who see Maine's disappointing post-Break finish from last year as telling, but I just see it as a natural progression of a 26-year-old pitcher learning to handle a major league workload.

Frankly, it amazes me how often I still read about Maine's "ordinary" stuff. He may not light up a radar gun at 98 mph, but there is nothing ordinary about a fastball that has amassed 251 Ks in 281 IP since coming over to the Mets. The secondary pitches are getting better and more consistent, and Maine has a terrific mental approach for a young guy. I'm not predicting Cy Young, but I'm absolutely stupefied by how easy so many write off just how far he came last season.

There seems to be some sort of feeling that Mets fans overrate John Maine, but I think he's one of those guys you have to see pitch on a regular basis to really appreciate.

One other item of interest to me was watching Billy Wagner pitching from a windup and adding a changeup and curve to the usual fastball-slider fare. Wagner can be maddening at times, but I love his guts and toughness. I absolutely think he's doing the right thing trying to add a new wrinkle or two, even though he is bound to be crucified the first time he blows a save by getting beat on a curve or changeup. He's got cojones.

According to reports, it's possible that both Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado may play tomorrow. That would be very good news for us Mets fans.

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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