May 8, 2016

2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Pitcher: John Maine (2006-2010)

John Kevin Maine was born on May 8, 1981, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The tall six foot four right hander, played college baseball for Charlotte and was the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year in 2001. .

He broke several single-season school pitching records including strikeouts and wins. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2002, and became one of the top minor leagues pitching prospects. In 2003 he was 13-4 leading all minor league pitchers in strike outs (185).

In 2004 he was moved up to the AAA level & debuted in the big leagues for one game on July 23rd. He allowed four runs over seven innings taking a loss & returning back to the minors. 

The next year in August 2005 he got his first win, shutting out the Blue Jays for five innings at Camden Yards. He finished out the year going 2-3 with a 6.30 ERA. In January of 2006 he was traded to the New York Mets with Jorge Julio in exchange for Kris & Anna Benson. 

He started out in the minor leagues in 2006 but was called up when rookie Brian Bannister went down with injury. Then Maine himself got injured and after some more time at Norfolk finally was up for good in July. He began the season at 0-3 but then pitched a four hit complete game shutout on July 29th at Shea Stadium, against the Houston Astros. All of a sudden he got hot & pitched well enough to earn a spot as the number five starter.

Maine went on to win five straight decisions, pitching at least six innings each time, never allowing more than two runs in any outing. He threw 26 scoreless innings just shy of breaking Dwight Gooden’s record of 23 scoreless in 1984. He just fell shy of Jerry Koosman’s team record 31 scoreless innings pitched. finish 6-5 with a 3.60 ERA, striking out 71 batters in 90 innings.

Post Season: He wasn’t expected to start the in the post season, but when Pedro Martinez & El Duque’ went down he got the ball for Game #1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. He got no decision pitching into the 5th inning, allowing just one run, as the Mets won the game & swept the Series. In the NLCS vs. St. Louis he started Game #2 and gave up three earned runs in four innings, but didn’t get a decision.

He didn’t get the ball again until the crucial Game #6 at Shea Stadium in a do or die situation for the Mets. Maine threw five scoreless innings and struck out five Cardinals along the way, beating that years Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, sending the Series to a Game Seven.

In 2007 In April he was 4-0 with 30 strike outs & a 1.35 ERA, earning the Pitcher of the Month Award. In his first outing he pitched seven shutout innings of one hit ball, striking out six in a 10-0 Mets win over the Cardinals in St. Louis. He would pitch at least into the 7th inning in all four of those wins. 

Maine was 6-4 at mid June then went on a four game win streak, including a June 29th eight inning two run, four hit victory. He had a great first half but was not picked for the All Star team. His first half of the season was so good he probably should have even gotten to start the All Star game. He was tied for the league lead in wins (10) and had 92 strikeouts with a 2.71 ERA.

He cooled off in the second half, but stepped up pitching the game of his life on the next to last day of the season. The Mets were fading fast after losing their lead in the NL East and Maine threw a one hit 1-0 shut out at Shea Stadium against the Florida Marlins, giving the team new life. He had a no hit bid going until two outs in the 8th inning when the Marlins backup catcher Paul Hoover singled. He earned the win, allowing just the one hit while striking out 14 batters in 7.2 innings pitched. He finished the season leading the club in wins as well as losses (15-10) strikeouts (180) and HRs allowed (23). He posted a 3.91 ERA & averaged a strikeout an inning becoming one of the leagues durable starters.

In 2008 he lost his first start in Atlanta but rebounded back to win five of his next six starts, posting a 2.81 ERA by mid May. Although he was allowing two to three runs per outing, he was 8-6 by the start of July. Soon he began to have arm troubles. After a stint on the DL in August he returned with three solid starts but discomfort in his arm finished off his season. He was shelved by manager Jerry Manuel so as not to jeopardize his pitching career. In 25 starts with 140 innings pitched he went 10-8 with 122 strike outs 67 walks & 16 HRs with a 4.18 ERA.

One of the reasons the Mets fell short of the playoffs is because they lost Maine in the rotation. He had bone spurs removed in the off season and was never the same pitcher again. In January of 2009 he signed a one year 2.9 million dollar deal with the Mets, as they hoped he could recover & return to form.

In April he got no decision in his first start & then lost his next two starts. He then came back to win three straights, showing some signs of promise once again, as he pitched six full innings in each win. 

But after one start in June he was placed on the DL again & did not return until mid September. He pitched into the 5th inning twice going 2-2 that month. His strongest outing was his last on October 2nd against the Houston Astros. Maine went into the 7th inning allowing one run on five hits, earning the win. He finished up the season going 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA & 55 strike outs in just 81 innings pitched in 15 games.

2010 was even worse for Maine, it began when he allowed four runs in five innings at Citi Field against the Florida Marlins in the second game of the season. Maine was 1-3 with a 6.13 ERA in just nine appearances. On May 5th he was removed from a game against the Washington Nationals after just throwing five pitches.

Pitching Coach Dan Warthen explained there was concern about his arm going into the game & then during the game none of his pitches reached 85 mile per hour. Maine got into a public dispute with the coaching staff as well as manager Jerry Manuel. As with everything else that went wrong that season, John Maine’s Mets career was finished.

In his five year Mets career he was 39-32 with 467 strike outs & 270 walks in 5442 innings pitched, posting a 4.17 ERA in 97 games pitched. 

In 2011 he was granted free agency & signed with the Colorado Rockies pitching in their minor leagues. In January 2012 he signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox butw as released in May. He signed with the AL New York club,would go 8-5 at AAA Scranton & was granted free agency.

In 2013 he signed with the Miami Marlins & made the Opening Day roster. He got into four games pitching seven innings but allowed ten earned runs & was designated for assignment.

Maine ended his eight year career going 41-36 with a 4.45 ERA. He struck out 499 batters walked 270 in 593 innings pitched over 112 games, with 105 starts.

No comments: