Thursday, September 6, 2007

Reds sink the Maine

John Maine continued his slide yesterday, and New York Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson seems unable — or unwilling — to stop it. At the Reds' stadium in Cincinnati, Maine lasted only four and a third innings before being sent to the showers. It was his his second-shortest start of the season. His shortest occurred on August 4 when he lasted only 2.2 innings agains the Cubs.

During yesterday's brief stint, he threw 85 pitches, or about 21 an inning. Worse, he surrendered nine hits, three walks, and six runs, enough to make Willie Randolph wave a white flag and call for the cavalry.

“I think for the first time in a while, I didn’t feel good out there pitching and it showed,” the New York Post quoted Maine as saying.

If he was "feeling good" in his six starts before yesterday's, the Mets are in trouble. His ERA in his last seven starts is 7.07.

Coming into the game to try to stop the Maine massacre was a reliever who should have been called up a month ago. Willie Collazo was not only the best reliever on the Mets' Triple-A farm team, the Zephyrs, he was their best pitcher. He had the lowest ERA of anyone who pitched more than 35 innings (2.46), a WHIP of only 1.11, and a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.6:1. Against a Reds team red-hot for the day, Collazo pitched 1.2 innings of shutout ball. Though he walked one batter and gave up two hits, he also got two batters to hit into double plays.

His successor, fellow Zephyr Philip Humber, didn't fare as well. In the bottom of the seventh, he fell victim to two doubles and a single before he was able to get out of the inning. He did better in the eighth, not allowing a batter to reach base.

The bottom line? It's time to remove Maine from the starting rotation for at least one start and replace him with either Mike Pelfrey or Humber. Give Maine a breather. The season's taken its toll on him.

Radical? Some would consider it to be? Will Willie do it? No. He doesn't like to make radical moves. But in my view, it's riskier to remain with Maine.
In Brooklyn, Dylan Owen excelled on the mound again. In seven innings, he surrendered just three singles, didn't walk a batter, and struck out 11. Though the Cyclones won, Owen didn't get the win, but he did lower his ERA to 1.49. He's my nominee for the Mets Minor League Pitcher of the Year award.


  1. I disagree strongly with removing Maine from the rotation, even if it's just for one start. Were you of the same mentality when Maine threw hius gem against the Braves just a start earlier? Now suddenly he's whipped and needs some extra rest? Look what extra rest did for the guy following the all-star break. I think Maine needs consistency more than rest, because if you start messing with his status in the rortation now, he likely won't be able to recover in time for the playoffs.

  2. Hi Dave. Would you not agree that Maine has not been the same pitcher since the All-Star break that he was before it? So something's changed. Some say he's worn down because this season he's pitched more innings than ever before.

    A pitcher who pushes himself to pitch when he's worn down is more likely to injure himself, and I'd prefer not to see that happen. That's why I suggested he sit out a start.

  3. That's fair, but something tells me there's more to Maine's recent struggles than a tired arm.

    I'm going to try to be an active participant on your blog, as I am on Hopefully we can attract some more people to make comments on your blog.

  4. Dave,

    You could be right.

    I'm glad you're going to return. I enjoy reading your comments.