By Mike Steffanos
Game 106: Marlins 7 - Mets 3 (Monday)
Game 107: Mets 4 - Marlins 1 (Tuesday)
As previously mentioned, a case of food poisoning has laid me low for the last couple of days. I was pretty far out of it Monday night, which somewhat limits the observations I have to share.
I am concerned, however, about John Maine's shoulder. I understand how vital starting pitching is to the Mets' chances of going anywhere this season. That being said, they need to be very careful with John Maine.
"Mild" or not, a rotator cuff strain is no small matter for a pitcher. We've seen Maine struggle for a month to make it deep into games and put batters away. Although Maine says the pain has been troubling him for a week, I'm sure the roots of it go back farther.
Every pitcher deals with pain. Pitching puts unnatural strain on the body. Changing his pitching motion to compensate for injuries only makes it more likely that a pitcher can injure himself more seriously.
I'd like to see the Mets go very conservative here. Being without Maine for some starts now is preferable to being without him for a very long time.
As for the game itself, we know this bullpen is going to have games like this, particularly when they are called on to take over early. It's funny, though, how the two guys who seem to have been struggling the most -- Duaner Sanchez and Pedro Feliciano, were the most effective. The Mets are likely to need both of those guys as the season wears on, so I guess that's your silver lining. My other personal silver lining was that I was already nauseous going into the game, so it didn't make me feel much worse.
I was feeling better during last night's game, and the outcome was certainly preferable. Ollie Perez only becomes more important as questions surround Maine, and although he wasn't as dominant as he's been, Perez got the outs when he needed them.
The Carlos Delgado saga just seems to get better. More and more, he looks like a dangerous hitter again. As previously stated, the quality of his at bats argue for this being more than just a temporary hot spell. Sooner or later he will go into a slump again, as every player does. I'll be interested to see whether he can snap out of it faster rather than wallowing in it for weeks at a time. That would be a sure sign he's for real.
Put me among those who have been favorably impressed by this team's ability to bounce back from adversity. Monday night they seemed on the cusp of a taut, well-played victory when the bullpen let it slip away, but they were right back after it the next day. Adversity will always show up over the course of a long season, and it's really about how you deal with it.
Big start for Pelfrey tonight. Then again, as the season wears down they're all pretty big.