If I'm being completely honest, I wasn't sure we'd ever see another good start from John Maine. I seriously thought there was at least an even chance that he was done as a competent big league pitcher, and I'll defend that as a completely reasonable position given what we've seen from him over the past year-plus. But that was way back this morning, before Maine's nine-strikeout performance against the Dodgers. He threw only 101 pitches over six innings, allowing four hits and finishing with an impressive 65% strike rate. He threw 35 balls overall and walked three of the 26 batters he faced, which means that he threw just 23 balls to the other 23 batters, one ball per batter. That, my friends, is called pounding the strike zone&trade.
Maine indicated after the game that he felt more comfortable with his mechanics and delivery today, a point that certainly manifested itself in positive results on the mound. In the race for who gets dumped from the rotation first, consider this Maine's strongest salvo to date. Ball's in your court, Ollie!
As splendid as Maine was, his wasn't even the most impressive pitching performance for the Mets on Wednesday. That honor belongs to Everyday Fernando Nieve, who pitched an inning and a third and recorded four outs on five total pitches. Nieve came on after Maine walked Jamey Carroll to lead off the seventh. He got Reed Johnson to fly out to center on the first pitch, then took three pitches to coax an inning-ending double play out of Russell Martin. He stayed on to face Matt Kemp to begin the eighth, inducing a first-pitch grounder to Jose Reyes. Five pitches, five strikes, four outs.
The offense got contributions from everyone, as nine position players reached base at least once, including Frank Catalanotto, who hit a pinch-hit double in the eighth. You know things are going well for a team when Frank Catalanotto is getting on base. What's more, Alex Cora went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double. I know! I watched the game and still had to cross-check with three different boxscores to be certain it happened. David Wright and Ike Davis collected two hits apiece -- Davis knocked in his sixth run of the year -- while Jason Bay went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double. Jose Reyes went just 1-for-4 and is hitting .240/.301/.333. The team may be rolling since Reyes was moved to the third spot in the lineup, but the change hasn't done much for Reyes's production.
The Mets have an off day on Thursday before moseying over to the City of Barferly love for three games with the second-place Phillies.
John Maine- John Maine!- leads a strikeout parade
Though the fear here is that his success will soon fade
Still this is clearly no time for a skeptic
With Met play at last trending up from the septic
For at least one more day, Mets wear frontrunner's shoes
And Davis continues to be great for the Jews
So put down your pitchforks, your torches ablaze
For the time may be at hand that Amazin's amaze
Big winners: Fernando Nieve, +14.0% WPA, Angel Pagan, +11.8% WPA
Big losers: Jose Reyes, -3.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pagan two-run triple in second, +15.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Martin two-run home run in fifth, -11.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +19.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +30.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Alex Cora
Nice job by Brooklyn Dodgers Mets Fan; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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