By Mike Steffanos
Game 37: Mets 6 - Nationals 3
It's clear that John Maine is someone who you really have to see pitch to appreciate. Most die-hard Mets fans who have seen many of Maine's performances over the last 2+ seasons believe the young right-hander is the real deal. The Mets as an organization clearly believe in him. Yet, with the exception of Oliver Perez, no player on the Mets has performed as well as Maine has done only to met with tremendous skepticism from the world outside of Flushing.
I can't count how times I have read or heard someone in the national media talk about John Maine as if he's still unproven. I've read bloggers for other teams and scads of self-appointed Fantasy baseball experts who confidently assert that Mets fans "overrate" John Maine.
Maine had a solid year for the Mets last season, but faltered at the end. Rather than cut him some slack in his first season of pitching major innings, many commenters felt the post-Break Maine was the "real John Maine." (I'm looking at you, John Kruk)
I strongly suspect that the "real" John Maine is the pitcher we have seen over his last 7 starts. Thank God for that in a season where many things have not gone very right for the Mets.
Other observations from this game:
The only reason why I refuse to admit that I was wrong about Ryan Church is that I'm afraid the minute I do he stops hitting. So I refuse to admit I was wrong. Even if I was. Which I'm not saying...
If Moises Alou can avoid another long spell on the DL -- a big if -- I think the offense will be okay. He just amazes me. I always knew he was good, but I honestly didn't realize what a great hitter he was until these last 2 seasons watching him a lot. I know it won't happen, but if I was a writer with a Hall of Fame vote I would consider casting it for Alou when he becomes eligible. He might be one of the top 10 pure hitters I've actually had the chance to watch.
Duaner Sanchez has solid cast iron cojones. If he could just find that extra 4-5 mph on his fastball.