He's NOT John Maine. Or injured. Okay, that's two things. But who's counting?
A few days ago, I wrote about John Maine and Oliver Perez over at MetsMerized. Although we can say they have had similar journeys in their history as Mets pitchers, as fans we tend to give John Maine a little more rope in his starts, while we want to hang Oliver with the remainder of said rope during his starts.
We all know where this story leads now. Oliver Perez has been sent to the bullpen, yet John Maine's story gets more interesting by the day.
Last week, in his start against the Nationals, Maine was pulled after FIVE PITCHES, giving up a walk to the lead off batter Nyjer Morgan. The kicker was that Dan Warthen had seen Maine struggling with his velocity during warming up and had told Jerry Manuel about it. When they saw Maine looking uncomfortable on the mound, they shagged ass out of the dugout and yanked him immediately.
The other kicker is that Jerry Manuel looked pissed off...not at the situation but at Maine himself. Every camera angle into the dugout suggested that the skip and his underling were visibly fighting. Maine looked not so much angry but, I don't know, his body language suggested his feelings were hurt (and it wasn't just shoulder pain).
Now instead of just saying, "we are concerned for his health," Warthen and Manuel take the road-less-traveled and basically said John Maine is a liar. Okay, not basically. They DID say that Maine was a liar and Warthen took it to the extreme calling him a "habitual liar."
Call me crazy, but there are two things to glean from this. One is: Manuel's and Warthen's patience, in general and not just with Maine, is wearing thin. Two is: Manuel is willing to throw one of his subordinates under the proverbial bus to save his own hyde. Stay classy, Jerry!
Here's my thing though. So R.A. Dickey makes a start last week and is scheduled to start on Tuesday night against the Phillies (which I'll get to in a minute or so). Hisanori Takahashi made a promising start against the Yankees on Friday, so he'll definitely get a nod during the Phillies series too. However, Jon Niese, the "fifth" starter, is also on the DL. That leaves us, in my estimation, short one starter. Right now, the probables suggest that Mike Pelfrey will make his normally scheduled start on Thursday (since there is an off day this week). In the future though, will Fernando Nieve-ryday or Raul Valdes get the spot start in the meantime?
Or will Oliver Perez get it by default since he was a starter but also getting paid like an ace? Although we know he is far from one? Can I ask enough questions?
What I found incredibly fascinating in this story, though, is how John Maine is now being treated. Oliver Perez is STEALING money from the Mets and their fans, yet Maine is treated like the criminal by wanting to pitch hurt. Yes, I agree, that it hurts the team when he tries to do that (especially since he was given a nice lead in that game). But to be called a liar in the entire New York press is not only downright rude it is unprofessional, borderline unethical.
My piece on MMO last week suggested that I am through with both pitchers, and to an extent I am. Let's give credit at least where it is due. John Maine is getting thrown under the bus because he can be. Oliver Perez isn't going anywhere, we all know this, Jerry knows this, Warthen knows this. He gets the silent treatment while Maine gets the cold shoulder tendinitis treatment. That is short hand for, his coaches call him a liar but can't fire him.
I predict Maine will be DFA'd sometime this season. We are stuck with Ollie in the meantime. Unfortunately.
So how about them Mets! We struck first blood in the Mets/Yankees subway series, taking two games out of three. Of course, I am looking at this whole thing glass half-empty and saying it SHOULDA been a sweep, since game one was imminently winnable if not for Alex Cora's error and David Wright inexplicably swinging at the first pitch of an obviously ineffective Mariano Rivera (well, as ineffective as Mo can be). Hey, I'm happy though, we have some bragging rights with the whole Empire State Building lighting up thing anyway.
Next though is the series that will separate the men from the boys against the Phillies. The last series left a lot to be desired. We thought at least two out of three was in the bag since our two aces were facing the Phils. Unfortunately, those were the two starts that were not only lost but completely annihilated. Of course, rookie Niese kicked butt, but he's on the DL.
The starters in this next series, according to Mets.com and pitching probables from Roto-times, are R.A. Dickey, Hisanori Takahashi, and Mike Pelfrey (due to the off-day, I guess Pelfrey makes his regularly scheduled starting day).
Oftentimes, starting pitchers of the Dickey and Takahashi ilk have Mets fans running to the hills or at least to the beer vendors. However, I have a feeling they are going to come up huge for us this series.
The Mets have made it a habit to play to the level of their poor competition, yet seem to play over their heads against the "better" teams. Mets pitching that is supposed to be a "sure thing" (e.g. Santana, Pelfrey) get hammered in starts that are supposed to be close, at the very least. Of course, we all know that "MLB pitching debut" starter or junkball pitching old mean (e.g. Jamie Moyer) will shut the Mets down while the likes of Oswalt or Carpenter get hammered for several hits/runs.
My point is, I am not scared about the pitchers we are throwing out there. According to several tweets from yesterday, Tim Wakefield absolutely baffled the Phillies' bats. Wakefield is a knuckleballer. So is Tuesday's starter Dickey (Ironically, Dickey learned his knuckleball technique from Wakefield. *Cueing the Dr. Evil pinky to lip movement*)
Takahashi is not a yet a big game or big name pitcher, but he is a finesse pitcher from Japan. Turns out Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, a big name for sure but has not given his big paycheck justification with a big game just yet, limited the Phillies to just ONE hit in Saturday's game.
We all know Mets kryptonite is listed above. Since the Phillies weaknesses were exposed this weekend, perhaps taking two out of three this series is not only a possibility, but will be looked at by this blogger as a glass half-full analysis.
Also, the last series, Mets were in first place going into Philly, yet right now going into a CitiField series they are in last. Phillies are in first; however, five games separates them right now.
Beasts of the East for sure. The Mets just need to step up their game a bit and take the bull by the balls and kick these punks off the top of the NL East. Specifically, kick Victorino in the vagina for me. Kthxbye.
Let's DO IT!!!!!!