John Maine Needs To Relax

One of my favorite players on the Mets is John Maine.  Maine always wants the ball, always goes out to the mound ready to win a game.  When he steps on the mound every fifth start he’s as intense as anyone playing the game today.  In 2006 he endured himself to Mets fans when he pitched his heart out in the playoffs.  On September 28, 2007 he took a no hitter deep into the game against the Marlins in a must win game.  He’s an intense player who expects nothing but the best from himself and does not accept anything less.  He has said himself that after every start he watches the tape of the game looking at what he did wrong and how he can improve those flaws for the next start.  Former pitching coach Rick Peterson and current pitching coach Dan Warthen both agree that Maine is his own worst critic. 

Last season Maine had the same intensity but was plagued with a shoulder injury for the majority of the season.  He was put on the DL on August 4th and did not play again for the rest of the season even though he was taken off the DL late into September.  He was with the team and every time we saw him in the dugout we could see that he wanted to be out pitching for the Mets.  After the season ended he underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his shoulder.  Interviews early on in Spring Training Maine felt that if he could have pitched more games last season it could have helped the Mets get into the playoffs.

This spring has not been very good for Maine.  He has allowed 14 runs in 3 appearances.  He does not look comfortable out on the mound, something that was not always the case.  I don’t believe it’s a focus problem, Maine is very much into the game.  I believe Maine is putting too much pressure on himself.  He’s coming off of surgery and he has a need to prove not just to the fans, the team and the media that he can still pitch but also to himself.  On the mound he looks like he is thinking too much, something that if you ask other pitchers isn’t the most productive way to pitch.  Maine needs to go on the mound, relax and throw the ball to the catcher.  Maine needs to stop being so pessimistic.  If Maine can go on the mound and relax we can expect him to be a 15-18 game winner this season.