John Maine, The Mets X-Factor?

My, my, my… It appears that we got a real wakeup call from John Maine the other day…

Ol’ Johnny Boy pitched in relief after a pretty neat showing by Johan Santana on Sunday, and here’s what he brought to the table: eight batters, five runs, three walks and three hits in less than an inning pitched as he was only able to retire  two batters.

Spring Training is supposed to be where you work the kinks out and get into physical and mental conditioning for the regular season. Maine’s response to this “aberration”?

“My mechanics felt fine.  I just wasn’t into it,” Maine told reporters.  “The feeling that it wasn’t my game as a starter – that was the hardest thing… It’s a waste of a day… I was up, down, I can’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong.  My delivery was fine.  I was rushing a little.  But that’s normal when you haven’t pitched in a while.”

Maine has had excuses before and to be honest, a few injury issues that made me anxious to ship him out over the past two years. When that Corey Hart deal with Milwaukee was being discussed, I have to admit I got giddy. It’s my contention that he needed to be moved while he still had some value, after very surprising 2007 and 2008 seasons. On August 4, 2008, Maine was put on the disabled list with a strained rotator cuff, then had shoulder surgery to remove a bone spur, then in 2009, he dealt with arm fatigue and multiple setbacks that limited our rotation. He went more than 5 innings once that year.

Pelfrey is growing up and recognizes the need to solidify secondary pitches instead of being the guy that threw fastballs 80% of the time on the mound. Astounding stat! Ollie is learning how to trust his stuff and be the pitcher we think he can be. Maine? Well, let’s hope he stays healthy. I just didn’t know that we had more than one headcase in the rotation. He just wasn’t into pitching that day. Really, John? Really?